Oregon's Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) has long protected the possession, distribution and manufacture of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Less widely known is that these protections extend also to "every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its resin."
On Thursday, the Oregon Court of Appeals reinstated marijuana distribution charges against Amanda Orr and others. In February of 2011, the Washington County Circuit Court ordered all evidence seized by the police during a search of her home to be suppressed. The Court reasoned that the search warrant which authorized the search had been issued in error. Simply put, the warrant was not itself based on evidence that supported probable cause to believe that Ms. Orr and others were engaged in the unlawful growing and distribution of marijuana.
A trio of legislative bills recently passed by the oregon legislature have wrought a lot of change in Oregon's marijuana regulation. First Senate Bill 82, signed into law and effective July 1, 2013 eliminates the 6 month driver's license suspension for those found guilty of the violation of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Two recent articles in the Oregonian, also here and also here, highlight the hazy and confusing status of marijuana laws in Oregon. While our neighbor to the North has moved forward with the legalization of personal use quantitties of marijuana, Oregon still struggles with an archaic patchwork of laws criminalizing marijuana possession and distribution.
Drug abuse can create many problems, not only for users but also for the general public. That is why state and federal laws prohibit the possession or use of controlled substances such as cocaine, marijuana and other mind-altering materials. However, the consumption of marijuana for medical purposes is legal in several states.
The recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington states has raised national interest in the legalization effort here in Oregon. Oregon marijuana advocates attended a town hall meeting this past Sunday and listened to strategic advice from Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project based in Washington D.C. His advice? Lay low until 2016.
On Monday, a Grants Pass man was sentenced to one decade in federal prison for drug and gun crimes related to the cultivation of marijuana. The 37-year-old was reportedly registered with the state to grow medical marijuana. After a four-day trial back in June, a jury returned a guilty verdict on charges of conspiracy and manufacture of marijuana and possession of unregistered firearms.
Federal authorities have waged an aggressive campaign lately against outdoor marijuana gardens in Western states this Summer. According to a CNN article here, in California alone over $1 billion worth of marijuana has been seized in outdoor marijuana garden raids in the last two months. These raids will conitnue through the late-Summer-Fall outdoor harvest season.
President Obama is apparently planning on putting greater focus on the War on Drugs if elected to a second term. And although it is not yet clear what policies might result from the effort, it may mean that those partaking in medical marijuana programs have more to be concerned about.