House Bill 2198, a proposal that is crucial to the survival of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and will create more jobs and revenue for the state, passed out of the state House today by the overwhelming margin of 48 to 11. This sensible bill was carried to the House floor by Democrat Ann Lininger and Republican Carl Wilson. Every Democrat in attendance voted in favor of the measure while just 11 of the 25 Republicans opposed it. The bill now moves onto the Oregon Senate, where it will likely have a closer margin, but is expected to pass.
House Bill 2198, if implemented, will establish the Oregon Cannabis Commission made up of healthcare professionals and medical cannabis advocates to help the state adapt to the needs of Oregon’s patients and advise the Oregon Legislature on the administration of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). Additionally, HB 2198 will allow some existing medical cannabis growers access to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) recreational system.
Providing up to 20 pounds per year to the OLCC market will help small compassionate farmers thrive and allow many growers to continue providing free and low-cost medicine to sick and disabled patients. These small farmers will not only be able to assist patients, many of whom are battling poverty, but will also be able to hire more help, benefiting our local economy.
Much more needs to be done to help Oregon’s medical patients, small farmers and mom-and-pop businesses, but HB 2198 is a good step in the right direction. Oregonians you may want to contact your senator and urge them to vote “YES” on HB 2198 with a simple message that the bill is good for patients, small farmers and businesses and the entire state of Oregon.