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Feb-18-2021 21:04printcomments

Oregon Medical Marijuana: Do You Really Need A Medical Card?

In Oregon, medical marijuana is there to help.

Bonnie King
OMMP patient Bonnie King in an impressive medical marijuana garden, Salem, Oregon.
Photo by Sean King,

(SALEM, Ore.) - The state of Oregon was one of the first in the United States to allow patients with a debilitating medical condition to apply for a medical marijuana permit, giving them the legal right to possess and consume cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Oregon voted for medical marijuana in 1998 with the OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program), just two years after California legalized medical cannabis in 1996.

In today's post, we're going to talk about getting your medical marijuana card in the state of Oregon and the advantages of having a medical card compared to recreational use (which is also legal in the state).

Oregon Medical Marijuana Program

Oregon's medical marijuana program is one of the oldest in the nation! This is partially due to the fact that Oregon's natural landscape puts it in the "Golden Triangle," where cannabis grows exceptionally well.

How Residents Can Get their Oregon Medical Marijuana Card

Applying for your Oregon medical marijuana card is simple and easy, as the state has worked hard to lessen the strict qualifying condition requirements that are typical of a new "green state."

Step 1: Identify Qualifying Medical Condition The first step to becoming a medical marijuana patient is to identify your qualifying condition in accordance with the OMMP. Potential patients must exhibit one of the following in their medical records to be considered for a state-issued cannabis card:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer
  • Neurological disorders
  • Degenerative conditions
  • Autoimmune deficiency
  • PTSD
  • Chronic or severe pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

Step 2: Talk to Your Primary Caregiver Once you've identified your condition, you have to consult a licensed doctor or your primary caregiver. Explain to them that you are interested in a medical marijuana card and that you believe it could help your symptoms. As long as cannabis won't interfere with other medications, they should sign your application.

Step 3: Register with The Oregon Health Authority Once your primary care doctor has seen you and signed your application, you're ready for the next step:

  • ​Complete all required portions of the application.
  • Submit a complete Attending Physician's statement.
  • Patients must submit proof of Oregon residency and a government issued ID. (An Oregon Driver's license or Oregon Identification card would meet both of these requirements.)
  • Include copies of current government issued photo ID for the caregiver and grower, if applicable.
  • Submit the correct payment amount. If you are eligible for a reduced fee, submit the required proof.
  • Do not call to check your application status for 30 days from the date OHA receives your application.

Step 4: Use Your Medical Marijuana Card at A Licensed Dispensary Once you receive confirmation from OHP, you will (usually) receive your card within a few weeks. The 30-day receipt has the same legal effect as a patient card and will allow a patient to access dispensaries for 30 days from the date on the receipt. (This receipt is issued only to the patient and does not extend to the caregiver or grower.)

Then, you'll then be able to walk into any licensed dispensary in the state and use it to purchase top-quality cannabis flowers, oil, tinctures, edibles, topicals, and any other cannabis product that could help your specific medical need whether that be cancer, muscle spasms, PTSD or nearly any other chronic condition.

Recreational Marijuana Laws in Oregon

In 2014, Oregon voted to legalize recreational marijuana in addition to medical marijuana. To use cannabis recreationally, you need to have a valid I.D. and be over 21 years-old. Also, bring cash because most shops don't take credit/debit cards.

Medical Marijuana Program Vs. Recreational Marijuana Use

You may be wondering what the advantage to having a medical marijuana card is if recreational use is already legalized.

One important benefit of a medical marijuana card is that it allows qualified patients under the age of 21 to consume cannabis from licensed dispensaries. Over the years, medical marijuana has helped many sick and dying children in Oregon.

Another benefit is the ability to grow 6 plants legally in your own back yard, rather than 4 which is legal for all adults 21+ in Oregon. The amount of usable marijuana a patient is able to possess is also more than can be otherwise possessed legally.

An OMMP patient or caregiver may only possess:

  • 24 ounces of usable marijuana;
  • 16 ounces of a medical cannabinoid product in solid form;
  • 72 ounces of a medical cannabinoid product in liquid form;
  • 16 ounces of a cannabinoid concentrate whether sold alone or contained in an inhalant delivery system;
  • Five grams of a cannabinoid extract whether sold alone or contained in an inhalant delivery system;
  • Four immature marijuana plants; and 50 seeds.

Medical marijuana cardholders also receive considerable tax discounts on their purchases, and dispensaries are also required to keep their medical records private.

The most beneficial factor in becoming an OMMP patient is that you no longer need worry about the legality of your medication. You have enough to worry about in facing the adversities of any chronic illness. In Oregon, medical marijuana is there to help.

Source(s): OHA; Special Features Dept.


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