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Oregon: Governor Signs Law Authorizing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber today signed legislation, House Bill 3460, into law establishing regulations for the creation of state-licensed medical cannabis facilities.

The law tasks the Oregon Health Authority with crafting rules and regulations over the following nine months to govern the new statewide distribution system.

Oregon voters initially approved a statewide initiative in 1998 mandating state lawmakers to allow for physicians to authorize qualified patients to consume and grow cannabis. However, that law did not explicitly provide legal protections for outlets that wished to dispense the substance to authorized patients.

Presently, an estimated 200 unlicensed cannabis dispensing facilities are operating throughout the state. An estimated 57,000 Oregonians are registered with the state to consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, DC now have licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nevada and New Hampshire.

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