Oregon admits lack of oversight of medical marijuana program

SALEM, Ore. — How a lot medical marijuana is within the pipeline in Oregon? The managers of the state’s program concede that they merely don’t know as a result of of lax reporting by producers and a lack of website inspectors.

That, they are saying, creates alternatives for marijuana to be diverted into the profitable black market, one thing that federal authorities have lengthy complained about.

Oregon was one of the primary states to legalize medical marijuana in 1998, and in 2014 voters authorised permitting leisure use. The state’s wrestle to rework a enterprise that for many years had operated illegally within the shadows right into a regulated business units an instance for different states shifting towards legalization.

In an inner assessment launched late Thursday, the state’s Health Authority, which oversees the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, admitted it has not offered efficient oversight of growers and others within the business.

“Potentially erroneous reporting coupled with low reporting compliance makes it difficult to accurately track how much product is in the medical system. This limits OMMP’s ability to successfully identify and address potential diversion,” the report stated.

The report confirmed there have been greater than 20,000 medical pot develop websites, however solely 58 inspections have been carried out in 2017.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen ordered the interior assessment amid complaints from regulation enforcement authorities who say they typically have hassle figuring out which marijuana growers are authorized. Seen from a helicopter simply earlier than harvest season, marijuana grows are like a inexperienced patchwork throughout one southwestern county, one drug enforcement officer stated.

In Deschutes County, the sheriff and district lawyer in February went public with their frustrations, saying the state was permitting black market operations to proliferate by means of lack of oversight. They requested the well being authority to offer an inventory of medical marijuana develop websites, however the company refused, saying the regulation doesn’t allow it to offer such an inventory. The company might solely reply on a case-by-case foundation.

The well being authority stated the confidentiality of develop website addresses is protected by regulation, however added it’s exploring methods to work extra intently with regulation enforcement to make sure medical marijuana develop websites are working legally.

“Those locations should be made available to law enforcement,” Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson informed The Associated Press on Friday in response to the report.

The report cited “inadequate funding and staffing resources to meet the demands of robust regulation,” as one of its many challenges.

“More than 40,000 Oregonians depend on medical marijuana to treat their qualifying medical conditions,” Allen stated.

The evaluate famous a pointy decline within the quantity of medical marijuana dispensaries since adult-use leisure outlets started opening in January 2017. That month, there have been 172; by December 2017 there have been solely 19 as many medical marijuana companies converted to the leisure aspect, which is regulated by the Liquor Control Commission. Medical marijuana processing websites dropped from 106 to 12 over the identical interval.

The medical marijuana program lacks dependable, unbiased instruments to validate develop website places and depends on inconsistent county databases, the report stated.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel recommended Allen for commissioning the research.


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