The 2019 Oregon Cannabis Commission Report was released in January with very little fanfare. After a year of meetings and considerations by the committee, nearly a dozen recommendations were made in the report to help coordinate changes that the commission sees as necessary to correct some of the problems the commission identified. Some of the changes are major and included needed legislative actions while others are aimed at administration that could be made at the administrative level.
A summary of the 11 recommendations:
1 – To examine the possible consolidation of all cannabis under one agency.
2 – Carving out a portion of the retail tax to help fund the OMMP and the reports other recommendations
3 – The state should establish “an independent state reference lab” that would be controlled by the Department of Agriculture to audit and investigate current cannabis labs and randomly test cannabis products for compliance.
4 – Changes to the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) that are more “appropriate for the scale of the grow site in order to ensure data entered into CTS is accurate and to mitigate opportunities for diversion.”
5 – Establish a cannabis research center (CRC) “to advance research on cannabis and cannabis-derived products.” The CRC will also collaborate with state academic, medical, and government agencies.
6 – Require “rigorous” training in cannabis for Attending Providers across the state.
7 – Change the law recognizing those who can recommend cannabis to allow Attending “Providers” (AP) to include Physicians Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and Naturopaths.
8 – Allow an AP to determine if a medical condition warrants the use of cannabis for treatment and not require the OHA to approve a specific condition or disease.
9 – Establish an alternative method of funding the OMMP and not force patients to cover all costs and subsidize all low income applicants, not already subsidized, that fall below the federal poverty line.
10 – Take measures to improve patient access to growers and allow growers ability to transfer to any registered patient.
11 – Either revise the law to facilitate OLCC retail store participation in a non-profit patient access program, or create an incentive for OLCC licensees to participate.
The report also provides needed background on the status of the OMMP program. They demonstrate the demise of the program with charts that show the dramatic drop in patient numbers—from 78,000 in 2015 to about 35,000 as of October 2018—as well as the even more drastic annihilation of medically licensed dispensaries from 346 in 2015 to only five today.
The report goes on to discuss cannabis governance, program funding, product integrity issues, research, clinical practice related to cannabis, and more. You can read the full report at: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ERD/Documents/Legislative-Reports/HB2198OregonCannabisCommissionReport.pdf