Oregon Medical Marijuana Law Overview
SUMMARY: Fifty-five percent of voters approved Measure 67 on November 3, 1998. The law took effect on December 3, 1998. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed recommendation from their physician stating that marijuana "may mitigate" his or her debilitating symptoms. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Health Division of the Oregon Department of Human Resources. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than three ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than seven marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature (law has been updated, see below). The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the "affirmative defense of medical necessity" if they are arrested on marijuana charges.
The Oregon law does not include a reciprocity provision. However, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled (and the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has confirmed) that patients from out of state are permitted to register with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to obtain a registry identification card, the same as an Oregon resident, which will protect them from arrest or prosecution while in Oregon. These out of state patients are required to obtain a recommendation for the medical use of marijuana from an Oregon licensed physician. State v. Berringer, 229 P3d 615 (2010).
House Bill 3052, which took effect on July 21, 1999, mandates that patients (or their caregivers) may only cultivate marijuana in one location, and requires that patients must be diagnosed by their physicians at least 12 months prior to an arrest in order to present an "affirmative defense." This bill also states that law enforcement officials who seize marijuana from a patient pending trial do not have to keep those plants alive. Last year the Oregon Board of Health approved agitation due to Alzheimer’s disease to the list of debilitating conditions qualifying for legal protection.
In August 2001, program administrators filed established temporary procedures further defining the relationship between physicians and patients. The new rule defines attending physician as "a physician who has established a physician/patient relationship with the patient; … is primarily responsible for the care and treatment of the patients; … has reviewed a patient’s medical records at the patient’s request, has conducted a thorough physical examination of the patient, has provided a treatment plan and/or follow-up care, and has documented these activities in a patient file."
Also, Senate Bill 1085, which took effect on January 1, 2006, raises the quantity of cannabis that authorized patients may possess from seven plants (with no more than three mature) and three ounces of cannabis to six mature cannabis plants, 18 immature seedlings, and 24 ounces of usable cannabis. However, those state-qualified patients who possess cannabis in amounts exceeding the new state guidelines will no longer retain the ability to argue an "affirmative defense" of medical necessity at trial. Patients who fail to register with the state, but who possess medical cannabis in amounts compliant with state law, still retain the ability to raise an "affirmative defense" at trial.
Other amendments to Oregon's medical marijuana law redefine "mature plants" to include only those cannabis plants that are more than 12 inches in height and diameter, and establish a state-registry for those authorized to produce medical cannabis to qualified patients.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, Or. Rev. Stat. Â§ 475.300 (2007).
POSSESSION/CULTIVATION: A registry identification cardholder or the designated primary caregiver of the cardholder may possess up to six mature marijuana plants and 24 ounces of usable marijuana. A registry identification cardholder and the designated primary caregiver of the cardholder may possess a combined total of up to 18 marijuana seedlings. (per Oregon Revised Statutes ORS 475.300 -- ORS 475.346) (52 KB)
• 24 oz usable; 24 plants (6 mature, 18 immature)
CAREGIVERS: Yes. Designated primary caregiver is the person that has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person who has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition. Primary caregiver does not include the patient’s physician. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. A patient may only have one primary caregiver. Or. Rev. Stat. Â§Â§ 475.302(5); 475.312(2) (2007).
PATIENT REGISTRATION FEE: $100 for new applications and renewals, $20 for applicants enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan or who receive federal Supplementary Social Security Income or monthly food stamp benefits.
• Registration: Mandatory
NOTE: On Jul 16, 2010 the Oregon Secretary of State certified a ballot measure (100 KB) to appear on the ballot in the Nov. 2010 general election. The measure would allow for the creation of state-regulated dispensaries. The measure defines dispensaries as nonprofit organizations, and would require them to pay licensing fees. Patients would still be allowed to grow their own marijuana supply.
For further reading/information and Becoming a Patient in Oregon
CONTACT INFORMATION: Application information for the Oregon medical marijuana registry is available online or by writing:
Oregon Department of Human Services
800 NE Oregon St.
Portland, OR 97232
Oregon Cannabis Patients registry: 1 (877) 600-6767
More info: Oregon Medical Marijuana Program
Oregon Marijuana Penalties
Less than 1 oz - civil violation* Incarceration none Fine $500 -$1,000
1 oz to 110 g class B - felony Incarceration 10 years** Fine $100,000
More than 110 g - felony Incarceration variable depending on prior record Fine variable
Medical use permitted with up to 24 oz, and 6 mature plants/18 immature seedlings, and state registration.
*Automatic 6 months suspension of driver's license.
**Conditional discharge available.
Sale, Cultivation or Manufacture
Gift of less than 5 g - misdemeanor Incarceration none Fine $500 -$1,000
Gift of 5g to 1 oz class A - misdemeanor Incarceration 1 year Fine $5,000
Any amount class B = felony Incarceration 10 years Fine $100,000
To a minor at least 3 years younger than seller, or within 1,000 feet of a school - felony Incarceration 20 years Fine $300,000
Any manufacture - felony Incarceration 20 years Fine $300,000
Miscellaneous (incl. paraphernalia)
Paraphernalia sale - misdemeanor Incarceration 1 year Fine $5,000
All marijuana convictions result in a six month drivers license suspension, unless the court finds reason not to suspend driving privileges.
Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $500 - $1,000. It is a civil violation and while the offense does not result in an arrest or a criminal record or the possibility of jail, it does carry an automatic 6 months suspension of one's driver's license. Possession of one ounce or more is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Conditional discharge is possible for possession offenses. Possession of greater than 110 grams is considered a commercial drug offense and penalties are substantially greater, depending on the prior record of the offender.
Delivery of less than five grams, for no remuneration, is punishable by a fine of $500 - $1,000. Delivery for no remuneration of less than one ounce is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Any sale of marijuana is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Possession of 24 ounces or less or cultivation of 24 plants or less is lawful for any person who possesses a registry identification card indicating that the person is a patient who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes. This is an affirmative defense to any charges of possession or cultivation within the amount limits.
If you are over 17-years-old and deliver any amount of marijuana to a minor who is at least three years younger than you (whether or not you receive something for it), you committed a class A felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $100,000 fine.
Any sale to a minor, at least three years younger than the offender, or any sale within 1,000 feet of a school is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000.
Manufacturing any amount of marijuana is a very serious offense. 'Manufacturing' means growing even one plant and packaging, repackaging, labeling or relabeling marijuana. Manufacturing marijuana is a class A felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Knowingly maintaining, visiting or even staying at a place where people are using, storing, or selling marijuana is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. However, if the amount of marijuana is one ounce or less, and it is just kept or used on the premises, the fine is $100 and not a criminal conviction.
Any manufacture of marijuana is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000.
Sale of paraphernalia is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
A conviction for manufacturing, possessing or delivering marijuana, or for driving under the influence of marijuana, will result in a six month drivers license suspension, unless the court finds compelling circumstances not to order the suspension of driving privileges.
Senate Bill 1085, which takes effect on January 1, 2006, raises the quantity of cannabis that authorized patients may possess from seven plants (with no more than three mature) and three ounces of cannabis to six mature cannabis plants, 18 immature seedlings, and 24 ounces of usable cannabis. However, those statequalified patients who possess cannabis in amounts exceeding the new state guidelines will no longer retain the ability to argue an "affirmative defense" of medical necessity at trial. Patients who fail to register with the state, but who possess medical cannabis in amounts compliant with state law, still retain the ability to raise an "affirmative defense" at trial.
Conditional release: The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.
Mandatory minimum sentence: When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.
Decriminalization: The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.
Medical marijuana: This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.
Hemp: This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other product.
Warning: The information contained in this report is for informational purposes only. Individuals are encouraged to confirm their state's laws before engaging in any particular behavior, or before going to court without a lawyer. Marijuana laws and penalties change rapidly and are enforced and interpreted differently even in the same legal jurisdiction. Please consult a criminal defense lawyer if you have been busted or if you want to know how a particular conduct might be punished. If you spot an error or have information that should be included please let us know.
Source: NORML and ProCon.org
Be informed, be well and let's change these state fines/penalties as they are unfair to everyone.