Oregon dispensaries legalize medical marijuana

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 15, 2013 at 8:23 AM   |   Comments

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Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries are free to begin opening their doors beginning March 1, 2014, thanks to the signature of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who signed a bill Wednesday legalizing pot retail sales.

The new law allows retailers to reimburse growers and charge for their product, and provides for a registry for businesses that want to get into the medical marijuana game.

Previously, medical marijuana card holders could only pay growers directly.

Oregon's Health Authority has until the March deadline to set into place rules for the operation and oversight of the dispensaries.

"I have asked the director of the OHA to broadly engage all of the stakeholders, including law enforcement, when promulgating the rules regarding dispensaries,” Kitzhaber wrote in a signing statement about the bill. “I believe it will be critical to set fees for dispensaries that will provide sufficient funding to OHA so they they can be extraordinarily vigorous in their enforcement of the rules that are developed.”

In addition to legalized medical use, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize possession of marijuana in 1973. A measure to legalized marijuana failed on the ballot in November.

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