Voters asked to expand Oregon's medical marijuana law

Voters asked to expand Oregon's medical marijuana law »Play Video
A worker at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic prepares packets of marijuana buds for sale in San Francisco.

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon voters will decide in November if the state should have dispensaries to sell medical marijuana.

Supporters of the idea gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

Alice Ivany, who lives near Newport, was one of the chief petitioners for the initiative. She said marijuana has totally improved the quality of her life. "It works for pain like no other medication out there," she said.

It will be up to voters to decide if Oregon's medical marijuana act should be expanded. Ivany said the original law in Oregon didn't go far enough.

"As wonderful as the original act is, it still was fatally flawed in that it did not allow safe, legal access for patients to obtain medical cannabis," she said.

She believes a regulated medical marijuana supply, sold in dispensaries, will be much safer for Oregonians. "Not only are you exposed to dangerous people but you don't know exactly what you're getting," she said. "The medicine could be tainted with other drugs."

Oregonians right now are required to grow their own marijuana or have to find someone to do it for them. They are also limited to 6 mature plants and 24 ounces of marijuana. If voters approve the ballot measure in November, patients could buy their pot at a dispensary or continue to grow their own - as long as they have a license.

The new law would allow dispensaries to have 24 plants and 96 ounces of marijuana, and the state would regulate sales. The dispensaries could not be located within 1,000 feet of a school or in a residential area.

If voters say no, the state's medical marijuana law will stay as it is. This is not the first time the issue has been up for a vote in Oregon. Voters rejected a measure to set up dispensaries back in 2004.

KVAL News talked to foes of the measure. Hear why they oppose dispensaries on KVAL 13 TV News Friday night and on KVAL.com.