OR Legislature preserves patient access, eases transition to rec market

In a bipartisan 46-9 vote in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Legislature gave final approval today to a bill that will preserve access to affordable medical cannabis for Oregon medical marijuana cardholders, expand Oregon’s successful “early start” program to allow adult recreational customers to purchase cannabis extracts and edibles from licensed medical dispensaries, and ease the transition for businesses moving from medical to recreational licensing. Senate Bill 1511 now goes to Governor Brown’s desk for signing.

“This bill ensures that Oregon’s 77,000 medical marijuana patients will continue to have access to the highest quality medicine, even as the majority of Oregon’s cannabis producers, processors and dispensaries pursue recreational licensing under the Oregon Liquor Control Commission,” said Representative Ann Lininger, who carried the bill on the House floor with Representative Alan Olson. “At the same time, the bill supports Oregon’s ongoing efforts to build a well-regulated and successful adult use cannabis market. This is a win-win for Oregonians.”

SB 1511 allows OLCC-licensed cannabis businesses to sell their products to medical cardholders tax-free. It enables producers licensed by the OLCC to continue to grow for patients by written agreement. The bill also protects patient health and safety by requiring that producers who supply medical dispensaries be licensed and regulated by the Oregon Health Authority or OLCC.

SB 1511 also expands Oregon’s successful “early start” program that has allowed licensed medical dispensaries to sell cannabis flower products to adults 21 and over since October 1. With the implementation of this bill, adults will also be able to purchase cannabis extracts, oils and edible products through the end of the year. Finally, the bill offers a temporary “stay” on new plant limits for medical growers in good standing with the Oregon Health Authority who have applied for an OHA or OLCC license.

Sally Alworth is a 20-year Oregon resident and the co-founder of Luminous Botanicals, a company that produces edible and topical cannabis products.

“Preserving tax-free medicine for patients and expanding Oregon’s successful early start program to include extracts and edibles is an absolute game changer for small businesses like mine,” Alworth said. “Many of us would not be able to afford to maintain two entirely separate businesses to serve both medical and recreational customers. This gives small businesses the ability to safely serve both with a single license. I could not be more grateful to Rep. Lininger, Senator Ginny Burdick, and the strong bipartisan leadership from all members of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization during this session.”

Amy Margolis, who leads the Oregon Cannabis Association, agreed.  “We truly appreciate the thoughtful, flexible and open-minded approach of our legislators and state agencies who are working hard to bring all stakeholders to the table and build a safe, legal market that will continue to be a model for other states,” she said.