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My public testimony, given today at the public hearing for House Bill 4034 regarding the takeover of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program by the OLCC.
My name is Dale Petersdorf.
Thank you for hearing my testimony today. I am a resident of Marion County Oregon. I'm a disabled veteran firefighter of the USAF. I separated from military service in 2012 and started growing cannabis for my younger brother who is a medical cannabis patient. I am also a medical cannabis patient, former registered medical grower, advocate and activist.
I serve on the patient access and social equity subcommittees for the Oregon Cannabis Commission.
I am the current elected Secretary for the Oregon SunGrowers Guild, a grassroots organization dedicated to advocacy and support of small family farms and naturally produced Sungrown cannabis and cannabis products.
I am the CEO and founder of Project:Scarecrow. We are a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to facilitate access to quality of life, products, therapies and other services to Oregonians with debilitating medical conditions.
At Project:Scarecrow, all of our patient members are OMMP patient cardholders; all have at least one documented, debilitating medical condition as diagnosed by a licensed medical practitioner. Over half are on some form of disability and have limited incomes. All have found a reliable form of relief from their symptoms by including cannabis or it’s constituents in their therapeutic regimen. Many find that using cannabis not only improves their quality of life, it reduces their cost of care.
On behalf of our patient members and all OMMP patients. We oppose the passage of HB4034 and HB4035. Kill this bill now. The proposed legislative language is changing at such a pace that by the time the most affected community members, Medical Cannabis Patients, have formed a rebuttal, the proposed language has changed, rendering the rebuttal ineffective. This effectively muzzles the patients so that only the interests of the regulators and well paid lobbyists are heard when it comes to writing the laws about cannabis. It's important for the needs of OMMP patients be heard and heeded.
The passage of these bills will put the State in a precarious position because moving the OMMP under the authority of the OLCC is damning to the OMMP as a viable program. The OHA is bound by HIPAA, the OLCC is not. Housing a medical program under the OLCC would compromise patient confidentiality altogether. Patients are under enough hardship, dealing with their own lives and debilitating medical conditions. They certainly don’t want to be put under a microscope by the state and scrutinized like criminals by the OLCC, arguably the largest law enforcement agency in the state.
There is a grisly truth that patients are currently facing. Ever since the state of Oregon voted to regulate cannabis for Adult-use in 2015, the state's existing medical cannabis program (OMMP) began to come under siege. Back then OMMP was serving 78,045 patients registrants while simultaneously supplying the whole Adult-use market in the state of Oregon with "early Adult-use sales." Now, in 2020 there are 24,801 patients left.
In recent years, we've seen change after change that has affected patient access. We’ve seen patient transaction limits from OLCC retailers reduced drastically from 24oz to 1oz per visit. The state decided that having a OMMP card was essentially a death sentence for any patient in need of an organ transplant and as recent as last year, the legislature created a new rule requiring all OMMP medical gardens to have a written consent form from the property owner. This put the patients in a position where they are forced to discuss their medical information with their landlord which exposes them to discrimination.
Additionally, that information is available to banking institutions and a bank has the authority demand the mortgage be paid in full if they find out that the landlord is complicit with the medical garden on the property. No landlord in their right mind will sign that form. The Oregon SunGrowers Guild opposed that legislation last year and we were essentially told that it was happening, whether we liked it or not and that somebody would have to sue the state to reverse that rule change.
This legislation puts the State in a precarious position because you can’t have an Adult-use program without having an existing medical program that functions. The passage of these bills basically overturns everything that was in Ballot measure 74 in 1998. We see that these bills were introduced by committee. Nobody wanted to put their name on these bills. Nobody wanted to take responsibility. We don’t blame you, they are terrible bills. But somebody approved for it to be introduced through committee. The states legal council must have approved it. You can do the right thing right now by stopping the passage of HB4034 and HB4035 right here in committee.
Project:Scarecrow, CEO, Founder
Oregon SunGrowers Guild, Secretary of the Board
Omnibudsman Enterprises, Sales Director
Please keep calling the members of the House Economic Development Committee who have not yet committed to voting no on HB 4034. 4035 and 4088 Rep. Lively 503-986-1412 Rep.JohnLively@oregonlegislature.gov, Rep. Fahey 503-986-1414 Rep.JulieFahey@oregonlegislature.gov, Rep. Helm 503-986-1434 Rep.firstname.lastname@example.org, Rep. McLain 503-986-1429 Rep.email@example.com, Rep. Marsh 503-986-1405 Rep.PamMarsh@oregonlegislature.gov, Rep. Bonham 503-986-1459 Rep.DanielBonham@oregonlegislature.gov, Rep. Barretto 503-986-1458 firstname.lastname@example.org