By Jack Rubinger

The Oregon Cannabis Commission provides advice to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) about a possible framework for future governance of the Oregon Medical Marijuana program.

Made up of stakeholders in the industry, Commission positions include a registry-identified cardholder, an attending physician, a person designated to produce marijuana, a person representing OHA, a person representing OLCC, a local health officer, a law enforcement officer and a person knowledgeable about research proposals and grant protocols.

Additionally, the Commission includes members of the public from various backgrounds. It commonly asks other stakeholders and agencies for input on various topics.

During the 2020 legislative session, there were three bills that proposed changes to Oregon Medical Marijuana laws:

HB 4034 directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to establish by rule a process to register medical marijuana grow sites.

HB 4035 directs the Department of Revenue, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Liquor Control Commission, State Department of Agriculture and Governor’s office to consult with Oregon Cannabis Commission and other cannabis entities to develop a plan to address issues related to regulatory authority over marijuana.

SB 1561 directs the State Department of Agriculture to administer the Oregon Hemp State Program for production, processing and sale of hemp.

Due to walkouts during the session, none of these bills were passed. It will be up to lawmakers to decide if they want to reintroduce them in 2021.

To help provide law makers with recommendations, both groups have divided this work into four different subcommittees that include: governance and framework, patient equity and health equity and research leadership. The Commission’s goal is to have recommendations for the upcoming 2021 legislative session.

A recent conference call took place where members of the Commission discussed areas of focus. Those included the need for affordable medical marijuana for medical patients, the lack of quality information available to medical marijuana patients (including patient care guidelines), the need for better research resources (such as the hoped for Cannabis Research Center), a desire to redefine dosing standards and a methodology for packaging and labeling products for patients.

For more information and meeting minutes, contact the Oregon Cannabis Commission at OHA.OCC@dhsoha.state.or.us.