oregon marijuana
Medical Marijuana Policy

Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Could See Fee Increases For Growers

oregon marijuana
(image via Oregon Herald)

I wrote an article earlier today that touched on a period of time back when I grew marijuana. It was the mid-late 2000’s, when the rules surrounding medical marijuana were different than they are today. Back then I was a patient, and I grew for my cousin and two of my friends. They designated me as their grower, we designated my house as the official grow site for all four of us, and we were each responsible for our individual patient fees to the state and to our doctors.

It was a much simpler time. Since that time the fee to even be a patient has gone up, with proposals to jack the fee up even higher. When the initial fee hike started, I quit being a medical marijuana patient in Oregon because I simply couldn’t afford it. Paying my doctor, the clinic, and then a hefty fee to the state? No thanks. After I got out of the program, fees also started for designating someone else as your grower, which I always thought was ridiculous. And now there’s a proposal on the table to quadruple that fee. Per Oregon Live:

Medical marijuana growers would be subject to a $200 annual fee for every patient they grow for under a proposal being considered by the Oregon Health Authority.

Medical marijuana growers in Oregon can grow cannabis for up to four patients. Under current rules, the state charges $50 for every patient a grower takes on, but recent changes that expanded the health authority’s oversight of production and processing prompted officials to propose the steeper fees to help cover the agency’s expenses.

The fee increase is estimated to boost revenue from $1.3 million to $5.2 million in the 2015-17 budget cycle.

One thing that I will be quick to point out is that while yes, the Oregon Health Authority has needed to expand to oversee production and processing, a lot of those jobs will likely be moved to the OLCC when the recreational program is in full swing. That’s not to say that some positions won’t stay behind, but I highly doubt all the positions that are being used to justify the fee hike right now will actually be there in 2017. The State of Oregon needs to realize that they will be ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ as the saying goes.

The same higher fees that are being pushed in a not-so-subtle way to try to affect larger marijuana growers who are supplying dispensaries are the same fees that are going to result in the most vulnerable patients having to go without their medicine. A vast majority of people that designate someone else as their grower do so because they can’t afford to grow it themselves and/or aren’t physically able to do it. Quadrupling fees will push those patients out of the program. I hope this proposed fee hike goes down in flames because it’s a proposal that clearly lacks any compassion.

  • Sunnie Day Sanchez

    Again, this is one of those unintended consequences. Besides the proposed fees being absolutely ludicrous, the OMMP should not have to pay for other programs. Want to know the worst marijuana defeat of 2015? Oregon House Bill 3400. Something’s got to give. Enough said.

    • Stop asking to be taxed and regulated.

  • joe tokes

    They can not let go of the black market and will continue to keep it alive by over regulation. Is our food, wine, beer and tobaco lab tested? We could do that if we want a black market for those. Overgrow this corruption plant seeds everywhere!

    • Rhea Graham

      As long as cities ban the regulated sales, the black market will thrive.

  • Bongstar420

    Oregonians can grow 4 plants and carry 8 oz of flower at home plus other products which will not get inspected unless the person is otherwise unruly.

    4oz of flower @ 20% THC = 4400 standard 5mg doses (moderate hits off the pipe)

    I can’t imagine the fees being relevant to outdoor growers since they can ca$h the crop out, skim a pound, and get a half pound of BHO all for 1 run.

    The only reason for me to run rec is that patients are anti profit and tend to actually cost more than the rec license. At 1oz a month no cost to the patient, your talkin $1400 a year/patient just in lost revenue not including delivery and processing time. The regulator requirements will be roughly similar to each other. If the rec license is $5000 to grow double or triple with no numbers or carry restrictions, why should I bother kissing 4 “patients” feet for permission to grow?

    • The government not stealing is now “lost revenue”?

      • Bongstar420

        So your saying there should be no government or that your “tax” should only be spent on things you want for it to not be “theft?”

        This fee stuff wouldn’t happen if the “medical” folk were actually in compliance with the spirit of OMMP. Too bad most people either lie or lie to them selves about their motives to be “medical.”

        If you don’t wanna pay the tax, you don’t have to profit or make an income off it.

  • It was a much simpler time.

    You asked for taxed and regulated. You got it. Wasn’t what you were thinking of? It never is.

    No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.

    • Rhea Graham

      Again for the record, I voted no.

  • sarel

    Hi guys. I’m a first time grower and have noticed that one of my female plants have these massive leaves and my question is; will this have any effect on the buds in any way?

    • Rhea Graham

      You want to pick a few of those massive leaves each day and use them in a smoothie or juice them in a wheat grass juicer. As to the buds, these leaves will be drawing up the nutrients and whatnot for the buds, they are a good thing. When it no longer needs them, they will die off. The plant does not mind you picking them off to juice, they will grow them back in 2 weeks.
      Best wishes!

  • Mike Johnson

    This is just one more step to try to force mmj into the rec side for more money. If I remember right, some Oregon legislators went to Colorado to discuss implementation of recreational cannabis. The main piece of advice was ‘get a grip on mmj’. So now you see it. It’s not over yet. Washington just gutted their mmj program. This is greed in action.