PORTLAND – As the number of Oregonians who smoke marijuana legally for medical purposes passed one in 100, voters will decide Nov. 2 whether those patients should be able to buy it from nonprofit retailers.
Oregon estimates put the number of legal users at 42,000 to 43,000 in a state of about 3.8 million.
The current law requires doctor approval and a state card. Patients can grow their own or designate someone to grow it for them, but they can’t pay for it.
Measure 74 would set up a system of state-licensed growers and retail outlets, called dispensaries, that would allow patients to buy marijuana. The producers and sellers would pay state fees.
Proponents of the Oregon measure say it would create a regulated system that’s more convenient for patients, only half of whom have reliable supplies.
“The other half go without or go to the black market, and neither is desirable,” said John Sajo, a longtime activist on marijuana issues in Oregon.
The strongest opponents of the measure are law enforcement officers and district attorneys. They say that it is a step toward legalization of marijuana.
“Measure 74 is a confusing and poorly worded measure that will make the illegal distribution and use of marijuana difficult to enforce,” said a statement from a coalition of law enforcement officials, intended for publication in the state voter guide.