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Oregon’s Hostile Takeover of Medical Marijuana

Individually packaged edible muffins


Oregon’s Hostile Takeover of Medical Marijuana

Late Wednesday evening, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) hurriedly submitted draft rules designed to keep marijuana-infused foods and candies from children. These new rules are being proposed after passage of Senate bill 1531 on Wednesday. This quick action reveals step two in Oregon’s hostile takeover of dispensaries and medical cannabis.

The new draft rules state that a dispensary may not sell or transfer to patients many common marijuana-infused products (medibles):

“ ‘Candy’ means a sweet food made with sugar, syrup or some other sweetener that may or may not be combined with fruit, chocolate, or nuts. ‘Candy’ includes but is not limited to candy bars, chocolates, licorice, sour candies, salty candies, hard candies, gumdrops, gummies, and marshmallows.”

“A registered facility may not transfer a tetrahydrocannabinol-infused product that is manufactured in a form that resembles cake-like products, cookies, candy, or gum, or that otherwise may be attractive to minors because of its shape, color, or taste.”

“[The rules] are set to go into effect next week,” said Karynn Fish, a spokeswoman for the OHA. “Dispensaries, at that point, won’t be allowed to legally dispense marijuana-infused items such as cookies and candies.”

The OHA is basically outlawing “medibles,” or cannabis-infused foods often in the shape of snack mixes, lollipops, cakes, brownies, cookies, soda etc. This action shuts down the entire medical marijuana medible industry in Oregon effective next week.

Thousands of patients are going to be without the products they rely on. Many patients do not smoke cannabis, and are basically unwilling to. Some patients cannot smoke cannabis even if they wanted to.

For some patients it is completely inappropriate to smoke cannabis.

So, what about the kids? Children cannot smoke, they cannot vaporize. The only medicinal forms of cannabis they can utilize are medibles, oils and topicals. If we allow this type of control of the medical cannabis industry to take place, then what is stopping them from seeking to outlaw concentrates like full extract cannabis oil or banning the production and sale of topicals like lotions and salves?

The argument of keeping cannabis infused products out of the hands of children is an understandable one, even though there are pediatric patients, not everyone wants their kids high, nor is it appropriate.

One would think though, that instead of an Orwellian gutting of an entire blossoming industry the patients, producers and businesses rely on, why not just go with childproof packaging and child-deterrent labeling?

The draft rules by the OHA not only cover medibles, they also cover childproof packaging:

(b) “Child-resistant safety packaging” means:

(A) Tamper-proof, child-proof containers designed and constructed to be significantly difficult for children under 5 years of age to open and not difficult for normal adults to use properly;

(B) Opaque so that the product cannot be seen from outside the packaging; (C) Closable for any product intended for more than a single use or containing multiple servings; and

(D) Labeled in accordance with OAR 333-008-1220.

According to the rules, the childproof packaging required for cannabis infused products would be much more difficult for a child to access than a standard prescription bottle. If the safe and non-toxic cannabis infused product needs to be more difficult to access by a child than Oxycontin, so be it. Why would the state then ban the sale of the items, therefore ending production and robbing patients of relief?

We need to tell the state of Oregon to stop protecting what does not need protected. Parents are responsible for keeping their children out of the medicine cabinet and liquor cabinet. Why then can’t parents be left responsible for keeping their children out of the medical Cannabis stash?

Email your comments, or concerns to the Oregon Health Authority: [email protected]

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