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Medical marijuana advocates seek to ease the rules

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Voter Power, a medical marijuana advocacy group in Portland, is about
halfway toward its goal of putting an initiative before voters in November
that would liberalize the state's medical marijuana law.

The initiative would increase the amount of marijuana that patients could
grow and possess, and allow for state-regulated dispensaries

Volunteers have gathered about 50,000 signatures to date, said the group's
Carina Marceau. Supporters need about 76,000 valid signatures to qualify
the measure for the November ballot and organizers hope to submit 100,000
to 120,000 signatures to account for invalid signatures, she said.

The initiative would amend the law and address one of the most common
complaints from patients: the difficulty of obtaining a reliable supply of

Growing marijuana can be technically difficult and can take six to eight
months to grow a crop, Marceau said. Some patients turn to black market
sources for marijuana, she said.

The state Department of Human Services would license and regulate the
dispensaries, which would be run by nonprofit groups.

Dispensary administrators would pay a $1,000 fee, plus 10 percent of growth
revenue to the state. They also would be required to provide medical
marijuana for free to indigent patients, at an amount equal to 20 percent
of the value of marijuana sold each month.

The initiative would also:

" Increase the amount of marijuana that a medical marijuana cardholder
could grow and possess. Cardholders now can grow three mature plants and
four immature plants and possess up to 3 ounces. The initiative would
permit cardholders to grow up to 10 marijuana plants and possess up to 1
pound of marijuana. If cardholders grow only one crop a year, they could
possess up to 6 pounds of marijuana.

" Authorize nurse-practitioners and naturopaths, not just doctors, to
recommend marijuana for medical use.

Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2003 The Register-Guard
Contact: rgletters@guardnet.com
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