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   Court Support Wanted; Citizen Needs Support! Make a Difference Just By Showing Up! Court Support Wanted; Citizen Needs Support! Make a Difference Just By Showing Up!

   Federal Cannabis Patient Hassled in Oregon Federal Cannabis Patient Hassled in Oregon

   Bills in Congress to Reform Cannabis Laws Bills in Congress, to Reform Cannabis Laws; check 'em out!

   OMMP Fees to Double OMMP Fees, to Double for basic registration, low-income going up 10 times!

   Your Tax Dollars at Waste, Feds Paper Oregon with Lies and Threats Your Tax Dollars at Waste, Feds Paper Oregon with Lies and Threats.

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Welcome to a Medical Cannabis Resource Center (MERCY), 2011 News Story. 
Oregon Senate Votes to Double Fees for Medical Marijuana Patients, Program Staff Deliberately Hides Fee Hike From Advisory Committee
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Summary: Basic Fees for registering with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will double, from $100 per year to $200 per year, due to a Budget Bill that passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and into the main chambers late Wednesday (6/8/11). The subcommittee approved doubling the $100 annual fee for medical marijuana patients, and imposing a new $200 fee on growers who are not already patients. The $20 discount for poor people receiving food stamps and state medical coverage will be eliminated, and only available to people on social security. The $7 million raised will go to other programs within the cash-strapped Oregon Health Authority, including clean water, emergency medical care, and school health centers. If the measure gains full approval as part of the budget, the fee increases go into effect July 1.

The increased fees will NOT be going to the OMMP, but instead to a "safe drinking water program and emergency medical treatment." So this isn't even money for the program. We find it disgusting that they looked to the OMMP for their funding for these unrelated programs.  Learn >>> more. Read the text of the measure > here <

Worse than we first thought, it isn't just the 200 for the card (and no low income) - it is also an ADDITIONAL 200 for the grower who isn't a patient....yeah, that will help people convince their friends and family to help them grow their medical marijuana: Keep this in mind at election time..the same folks who have doubled the cost for your medical marijuana card, and the same folks who have proposed multiple legislative concepts to further restrict your rights - they say that they need 10% more money for the next biennium.

I find this quote particularly interesting: *** "After scrutinizing for every possible cut, every efficiency, this is how the budget came out," said House co-Speaker Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay. He said it's important to invest in professional staff if the Legislature is going to have the same clout as the other two branches of government. "Now when we have a disagreement with the executive branch, we have the horsepower to be there," Roblan said. ***

They need more "clout" to keep up with the judiciary and executive branches? Maybe we could just cut their budgets down to size and that would put them on equal footing! Must be nice to be able to allot yourself more money for your fights - because our community has to do it for free, . If anyone was under the illusion that these guys aren't paid well (I've heard this from people) - the bottom lists some of the salaries - ranging from mostly between 5000-6000 per month. Read >> more

Status: SB 5529 was signed by the Governor, it is expected to go into effect on or about Oct. 1st.

How They Voted | Holvey was the only one who stood up to say he was voting no. Boone said she was originally going to be a no, but is now a yes, because they "reduced" the high fee of 200 for low income to 100 (only a 500% increase). Even Greenlick who opposed nearly EVERYTHING else the last three days supported SB 5529. Freeman basically said that the highest fee proposed was "only" 20 per month and therefore "not much money at all" - but fails to recognize that it is a 500% - 2000% increase.

Send Holvey your kudos - he actually said what needed to be said. Here's the list of Nays on SB 5529 if you care to take the time and thank them: Representatives: Bailey, Bentz, Brewer, Cannon, Conger, Holvey, Kennemer, Krieger, Lindsay, Olson, Parrish, Sheehan, Smith G., Smith J., Sprenger, Thatcher, Wand, Weidner.

About: SB 5529 is the authorizing budget bill that requires the OMMP to come up with more revenue. It passed the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Senate, and now, also, the House.

SB 5529 requires the OMMP to raise the money, but does not specify HOW to raise that money. That decision is being made administratively. Todd Dalotto has posted here about the ACMM efforts to change the formula that is being considered for the fee hikes. One reason to pressure House legislators is to give our side some leverage as the ACMM goes into talks with the OMMP Interim Director Barry Kast. If Barry is getting a lot of calls from elected officials about his proposed method to raise the money, it may help us influence Barry to CHANGE the way he raises the money, particularly to preserve the low income discounts.

NOTEs: Regardless, we will need a grassroots lobbying effort to urge them to work with the ACMM to develop an alternative proposal and to hold a public hearing.

More About SB5529 | This is a budget bill that calls for dramatically increased fees for medical patients in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Program advocates were caught by surprise by the budget item because program staff deliberately withheld information on the hikes from the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana. The bill now heads to the House, and then to the Governor. "Medical marijuana patients are sick, disabled, and very often poor. This stealthy tax is nothing more than a bedside shakedown of some of the most vulnerable people in Oregon," said Robert Wolfe, Director of the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative, which represents marijuana advocacy groups statewide. "It's a dastardly maneuver by cold-hearted politicians to balance their budget on the backs of the sick and poor."

SB 5529 authorizes the two-year budget for the Oregon Health Authority, which contains the OMMP. Staff summaries show that the budget includes a fee increase from $100 annually to $200 for patients, and institutes a new fee of $200 annually for registered grower cardholders, who are designated by patients. Finally, the bill limits access to low-income discounts for program participants. The new fees are expected to generate $7 million in new revenue for the biennium. "Legislators failed to kill the OMMP during the regular session," said Wolfe. "Now they are trying to discourage participation by imposing high tariffs. Patients will now avoid the program, and turn to the black market for their medicine. The legislature will be successful in recriminalizing thousands of sick and dying Oregonians."

Advocates successfully stopped work on nearly two dozen bills this session designed to limit or roll back the OMMP, but were surprised when the Joint Ways and Means Committee passed SB 5529 in a late session on June 8, 2011. OMMP staffers knew of the impending fee increases, but at a June 6, 2011 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana staff deliberately avoided informing committee members of the plan. Instead, OMMP staffers informed the committee of the fee increases only after the information had been published on OregonLive.com - well after the budget had been approved by the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

"This appears to be a violation of the statue that requires program staff to keep the committee informed," says Todd Dalotto, Vice-Chair of the ACMM. "This continues a pattern of deceit and manipulation of the committee by the program staff." Interim OMMP Director Barry Kast defended the deceit in an email to advocates. "To have said more to the ACMM on June 6 would have been as irresponsible as saying nothing at all and could have jeopardized the relationship of the program with policy-makers in Salem," wrote Kast.

"We will continue to contact legislators to attempt to stop this misguided money grab," said Wolfe. "But it appears that the end-of-session steamroller is going to flatten us without recourse."

Contacts:
Robert Wolfe
541-228-1634

Todd Dalotto
541-929-3973

Find Your Legislator online at - www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/findset.htm. Visit: www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm - and fill out the form entering your home address. Then click on the "submit" button and you will then be given your state and US legislators.


Senate vote tally - f.w.i.w

Ayes, 19; nays, 11--Boquist, Ferrioli, George, Girod, Kruse, Olsen, Prozanski, Shields, Starr, Thomsen, Whitsett.

Morse, Shields granted unanimous consent to change vote from aye to nay.

Shields declared potential conflict of interest.

NOTEs: Chip Shields changed his vote to 'no', making it 19-11. Floyd Prozanski also voted no and pointed out the concerns over OMMP fees. Floyd also got the clarification that we were looking for - that SB 5529 is a SPENDING bill, not a FEE bill, and makes no requirement for the OMMP to change the fee structure. However, the budget in the bill reflects the spending that is to come from OMMP fees. The new OMMP fees will be handled administratively.

It appears as though the OMMP will be responsible for payments of the budgeted amount to the 'other' programs regardless of actual program revenue. This is something we need to confirm. If enough of the 39% of the cardholders on Foodstamps and OHP do not renew their cards and the higher fees cause a slower negative program growth rate, then the OMMP could quickly become bankrupt.

~todd~


Here are a couple relevant documents -

- Medical Marijuana Bullet Points

- SB5529 OMMP Revenue projection

\ - I received from the OMMP Administrator regarding the 'logic' of SB 5529. Check out the bottom of the fiscal projection, where they are projecting a biennial loss of 8,300 (-15%) regular cardholders, 17,000 (-50%) Foodstamp & OHP cardholders, and 3300 (-20%) growers. Makes me wonder if SB 777 or HB 3664 could have reduced the cardholder population by that much!

~todd~


"Various activists have been tracking down more info on the OMMP fee increases, and have achieved a small bit of additional clarity on Oregon SB 5529. The increases are included as part of the Oregon Health Authority budget. This has been approved by the Joint Ways and Means Committee already, but has not yet been voted on by the House or Senate - but those votes can come as early as Wednesday (6/15). The bill would double the annual fee to $200 for patients, impose a $200 fee on growers, and limit access to the reduced-fee cards.

1. SB 5529 is the authorizing bill for the Oregon Health Authority

2. The language increasing the fees was generated by legislators, specifically the human services subcommittee of Joint Ways and Means, co-chaired by Rep. Barker, Rep. KOTEK, and Rep. Freeman - it was one of them, and the rest agreeing to it

3. The bill passed out of committee with a "yes" recommendation

4. It must now get floor votes in both the House and Senate, and nothing is scheduled for today or tomorrow - Wednesday is the earliest vote on this bill in the Senate. The House would vote afterwards.

5. There are processes to send the bill back to committee for amendment to reverse the fee increases

I am objecting to the fee increases on the following grounds. Including more personal reasons in your letters and emails is best:

> The fee increases are a steep, new tax upon vulnerable patients, more than a third of whom qualify for low-income assistance of some type, and all of whom suffer from some documented, qualifying illness or disability.

> The fee increase language was determined without any input from the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (ACMM) or any other segment of the affected community.

> It is also the first time that I've heard of a tax on medical patients based on the specific medication they are using - I find that patently discriminatory and unfair.

> And while the supposedly generated by this fee increase is already allocated, the budget document does not seem to take into consideration the large numbers of patients who will flee the program, and instead turn to the black market. This will reduce projected revenue from the fee increase, and re-criminalize thousands of patients who would prefer to follow the law, not break the law.

> I understand that the legislature is seeking new monies; but to raise that money in the form of a steep tax increase on the backs of some of Oregon's poorest and most vulnerable medical patients is unconscionable. I urge you to send SB 5529 back to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for amendment to reverse these onerous, wrong-headed fee increases on medical marijuana patients.

I strongly recommend contacting the three legislators responsible for adding these fees:

> Rep. Tim Freeman
Phone: 503-986-1402
Email: rep.timfreeman@state.or.us

> Rep. Tina Kotek
Phone: 503-986-1444
Email: rep.tinakotek@state.or.us

> Rep. Jeff Barker
Phone: 503-986-1428
Email: rep.jeffbarker@state.or.us

In addition, contact leaders in the House and Senate who may have influence on this matter:

> Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna
Phone: 503-986-1200
Email: rep.brucehanna@state.or.us

> Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan
Phone: 503-986-1300
Email: rep.arnieroblan@state.or.us

> Senate President Peter Courtney
Phone: 503-986-1600
Email: sen.petercourtney@state.or.us

> Sen. Floyd Prozanski
Phone: 503-986-1704"

Sincerely,

Robert Wolfe
OMPI


A suggested email to legislators:

*RE: Opposition to SB 5529-A *

Members of the Oregon Legislature:

I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 5529 as amended by the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. I certainly understand and appreciate the difficult job you have faced this legislative session as Oregon struggles with its economic and budgetary crisis. However, raising money on the backs of sick and disabled medical cannabis patients is not only unconscionable, but it also won’t generate the $7 million projected revenue amount.

A quarter of Oregon’s medical cannabis patients qualify for the low-income discount, mostly because they qualify for food stamps or the Oregon Health Plan. Eliminating the low-income discount for those patients who qualify for OHP and food stamps is tantamount to implementing a 1,000% health-care tax increase on sick and disabled patients who are battling both severe and debilitating medical conditions as well as poverty.

Many patients, including my father, have been able to decrease their use of prescription drugs and have seen a dramatic decrease in their health care expenses, saving tax dollars. My dad has seen his prescription drug use cut in half since his enrollment in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. He is enjoying a much improved quality of life and tax payers have been saved thousands of dollars. My father’s story is not rare, as the most common impact of using medical cannabis that I hear from patients at our clinic is that they have managed to decrease their use of addictive pharmaceutical narcotics such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.

Many patients on fixed incomes will not be able to pay the $200 patient fee, let alone the new $200 grower fee. Patients who managed to decrease their use of pharmaceutical narcotics will be forced to increase their dosage. This increased dosage of narcotics will often be paid by Oregon tax payers through the OHP. Also, thousands of patients unable to pay the fee will continue using cannabis and compassionate cardholders will continue assisting them. Thus, Oregon will spend more money and resources investigating, arresting, prosecuting and jailing nonviolent citizens for minor cannabis offenses that would be legal if not for a harsh fee increase that forced otherwise law-abiding citizens to be criminals.

Please vote no on this bill and any and all bills that will hurt sick and disabled patients.


"I didn't renew my patient card because the cost of going to the doctor so that I can reiterate what I already know is wrong with me, and the state fee was too much. I don't have the money to pay a fee for the people that I provide for and they are encouraging me to break the law so I can pay $200 per patient.

Those of us that have been lobbying the legislature had one message. Do not change the OMMP unless you want to clarify the law to make less criminals out of otherwise law abiding patients, or unless they want to provide a way for growers to make money legitimately. The license fees from a legal cannabis industry will help pay the state what they want. The legislature seems to want to keep the OMMP as unworkable as possible. Don't give growers a chance to make legitimate money and tax them because some of them choose to make money anyway, which would happen under marijuana prohibition with or without legal medical marijuana.

This won't work. We must rise up against the real problem, the state for not legalizing the industry that can make money and provide better for patients. And we must continue to vote in the right Senators, Representatives and President at the federal level."

See more LTL examples > here


  The Story  
OMMP fees double for medical marijuana patients in Budget Bill - Portland medical marijuana dispensaries | Examiner.com

Posted June 9, 2011 | Fees for registering with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will double, from $100 per year to $200 per year, due to a Budget Bill that passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and into the main chambers late Wednesday (6/8/11). The increase in fees was included in one of the over 30 bills that the Committee “barreled through” on Wednesday. Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, objected to the lack of scrutiny over the bills, stating, “It's unacceptable to get this kind of information with no time to study it.”

Bob Wolfe, Director and Spokesperson for the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative (OMPI), agrees. He describes the increase in fees as a “de facto tax” and questioned those behind the increase: “Medical marijuana patients are ill, disabled, and often poor. This stealthy budget item is a de facto tax on vulnerable people. I’d like to know which scurrilous legislator or bureaucrat is responsible for this disgusting maneuver.”

OMPI is a coalition of twelve large patient organizations, including Oregon Green Free, Mama’s, The Human Collective, and Oregon NORML, as well as many other independent advocates of medical marijuana. OMPI represents thousands of patients in Oregon, and has been active working at the legislature to protect Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients protection under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. OMPI had just confirmed the death of HB 3664, the lone remaining medical marijuana bill at the Oregon Legislature seeking to further restrict the OMMA, and believed that attacks on patients were concluded for this legislative session. HB3664 sought to restrict the medical marijuana program and increase police access to confidential patient information, and opponents to the bill turned out in troves for the hearing, effectively killing it for this Legislative Session.

While Oregon is slashing its many aspects of its budget, the Oregon Health Authority will receive an increase over current spending to its budget of nearly 11%, reports OregonLive. The increased fees for OMMP patients are expected to contribute about $7 million dollars over the biennium, and will go towards a program for drinking water and emergency medical services. Lawmakers claim that this still falls short of the projected needs, but believe that the increase in fees for OMMP cardholders will help “fill the gaps.” Advocates aren’t so sure; they project anywhere from 25% - 40% of OMMP cardholders are low-income, and that the increase in fees will only further weaken their tenuous financial situation – in essence robbing from one hand to place it in the other. There is also no confirmation yet if the low-income fees have also increased from the current rate of $20 per year. If patients cannot afford to register with the state, then they may find themselves on the wrong end of the long arm of the law when they cannot renew their card and are deemed felons instead of patients for growing and using medical marijuana.

OregonLive further reports: “Conspicuously absent Wednesday was the public safety budget, which includes money to run state prisons. Lawmakers are still struggling for ways to stem the escalating cost of incarceration.” I would propose a solution to both the escalating incarceration costs and our troubled budget: how about we legalize marijuana for ALL adults, taxing the commercial sales for recreational use, and allow all adults to grow their own for personal use without registration or fee, AND legalize industrial hemp? This will create thousands of green jobs, reduce our spending on arresting, convicting and incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders and ensure that medical marijuana patients have access to the medicine that they need. Further, through taxes on the regulated sales of marijuana, we could save over $61.5 million per year and raise an additional $140 million per year in revenue, with 90% given to the Oregon General Fund to supplement our education, healthcare and public safety budgets – the three main focuses and struggles of the current budget for Oregonians!

Oregonians are trying to do just that with the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012, Currently, proponents are in the process of collecting the nearly 90,000 necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot. To find out more, go to www.cannabistaxact.org, where you can print and sign the petition, volunteer to help gather signatures, or make a donation.

  Learn more >>>   About the Author:  Jennifer Alexander is a married mother of four boys, living in Beaverton, Oregon. She is a current Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholder, and an activist for marijuana law reform.


Big budgets move at Oregon Legislature, signal 'crunch time' | OregonLive.com

SALEM -- It would cost more to put up a billboard in Oregon and to get a medical marijuana card under proposed budgets that made it out of a key legislative committee Wednesday. Those unrelated developments signaled two truths: The state is hungry for new money that doesn't require a tax increase. And the end is near for the Oregon Legislature.

[snip]

But it falls far short of the state's projected need because of historic growth in caseloads and the skyrocketing cost of medical care.To help fill the gaps, lawmakers agreed to double the annual cost of a medical marijuana permit, from $100 to $200, raising a projected $7 million over two years, with the money going toward emergency medical services and a safe drinking water program.

[snip]

Health care ... The Oregon Health Authority's budget will increase nearly 11 percent. The numbers: 2009-11 total budget: $10.7 billion, 2011-13 total budget: $11.9 billion. Highlights: Includes increase in hospital taxes for higher federal Medicaid match, doubling of medical marijuana card annual fee to $200. Provides medical care for 600,000 low-income Oregonians through the Oregon Health Plan.

  Learn more >>>  


Ore. Lawmakers Decide To Increase Pot Card Fees | By Jonathan J. Cooper, The Associated Press

Posted by CN Staff on June 11, 2011 | Grants Pass, Ore. -- Faced with tough budget decisions, Oregon lawmakers have decided to tap the popular medical marijuana program for an estimated $7 million to fund other health programs and reject a pile of bills that would have made it much tougher for people to get a medical marijuana card. It's a legislative attitude adjustment that had marijuana advocates crying foul at the idea of doubling the annual fees charged marijuana patients to $200. But they think they it may move Oregon a step closer to their goal of bringing medical marijuana into the mainstream economy where it can be readily available to anyone and taxed.

"It's not good for the patients," said Christine McGarvin, a member of the state Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee. "I do appreciate the politics of it." With law enforcement from the U.S. attorney's office to local sheriffs and police chiefs decrying medical marijuana as out of control, the Legislature saw more than a dozen bills aimed at reining in one aspect or another of the program that went into effect in 1999. Eventually, a team of three former state troopers came up with a bill that would have made it virtually impossible for doctors to prescribe the drug. The bill was relegated to a quiet death in committee.

Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, a former state police lieutenant, said their bill was dead for the year, but he plans to work on the issue through the summer and fall and bring back a bill next year. This past week a Ways and Means subcommittee approved doubling the $100 annual fee for medical marijuana patients, and imposing a new $200 fee on growers who are not already patients. The $20 discount for poor people receiving food stamps and state medical coverage will be eliminated, and only available to people on social security. The $7 million raised will go to other programs within the cash-strapped Oregon Health Authority, including clean water, emergency medical care, and school health centers.

If the measure gains full approval as part of the budget, the fee increases go into effect July 1. Rep. Tim Freeman, R-Freeman, said he wouldn't call the medical marijuana program a cash cow, but acknowledged that the additional revenue is being used to subsidize unrelated services.

Freeman said Gov. John Kitzhaber's recommended budget left a large hole in public health funding. The Oregon Health Authority had already planned to increase fees in the medical marijuana program but decided to hike them even higher to help fill the budget gap. The fee increases came out of the governor's direction that some health programs that received general fund revenue in the past would have to find fee revenue instead, said Barry Kast, interim director of the Office of Community Health, which includes the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

As of April, nearly 40,000 Oregonians held patient cards at $100 apiece, raising about $4 million a year. Separate legislation would charge patients $10 to replace a lost card. Medical marijuana advocates decry the idea of a fee increase as an unfair tax on some of Oregon's poorest citizens.

"We managed to escape, I thought, without any changes to the program," said Bob Wolfe, of the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative. "All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we get this stealth tax on the poorest people in Oregon." But Paul Stanford, who owns a chain of medical marijuana clinics and is gathering signatures for a marijuana legalization initiative for the 2012 ballot, said the budget measure bodes well for eventual legalization of marijuana. He estimated that taxing it could raise $150 million a year.

Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said Oregon was following in the footsteps of states like Colorado and Vermont, which have been gradually making medical marijuana more accessible and putting it under more state control. "If we are willing to realize it is legitimate to tax patients to fund social programs, we should be willing to see it is legitimate enough to open it up as an industry." Jonathan J. Cooper reported from Salem. Visit - http://cannabisnews.com/news/26/thread26602.shtml see also - CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives: http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml


Oregon Senate approves medical marijuana fee hike

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Senate has approved a bill that doubles the cost of a medical marijuana card. Senators approved the budget for the Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday. The budget relies on an additional $7 million from the medical marijuana program to subsidize other public health services.

The plan doubles the price of a medical marijuana card to $200 per year. It also imposes a new annual of $200 on growers who are not currently cardholders, and it reduces the number of people eligible for reduced-price cards. Only patients who receive Supplemental Security Income will be eligible for a discounted $20 card. People on food stamps and the Oregon Health plan would be no-longer eligible for the discount.  Visit - http://www.kmtr.com/news/local/story/Oregon-Senate-approves-medical-marijuana-fee-hike/IAoqjvJCcU2LIlrnHoHKTw.cspx


Medical-Marijuana Activists Up in Arms Over the Proposed Doubling of Fees - June 17th, 2011 - By JAMES PITKIN

Several lawmakers this legislative session have alleged that the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program is being abused. They point to the number of registered patients—39,774 and counting—and have proposed more than 20 bills aimed at reining in the program. Those bills are all considered dead in Salem. But despite complaints about alleged abuse, the proposed budget for the Oregon Health Authority shows that some lawmakers also see the program as a cash machine for filling state coffers.

The proposed state health budget (PDF) would double the yearly fee for a medical-marijuana card from $100 to $200. Licensed growers for the first time would be required to pay a $200 fee. And proposed new rules would slash the number of low-income patients allowed to pay a reduced $20 fee. The extra money would pay for emergency medical services ($1.8 million), a program for safe drinking water ($3 million), contraceptive care ($1.2 million) and school-based health centers ($500,000). The proposed health budget passed the Senate 19-11 on June 14 and is now in the House.   Visit - http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-27278-medical_marijuana_activists_up_in_arms_over_the_pr.html

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f.y.i. - after the Senate SB 5529-A goes next to the House. If the House passes it unchanged, it goes to the Governor.

If the Governor signs it, the emergency clause means it can go into effect immediately instead of 30 days after the end of the legislative session. (If the Governor vetoes it, it goes back to the Senate for a possible override vote.) If the Governor signs it, the emergency clause means it can go into effect immediately instead of 90 days after the end of the legislative session. Just in Case - Below is contact info for Kitz. Others have called and emailed. Be nice to keep his phone ringing.

http://www.oregon.gov/Gov/contact.shtml - and He has Twitter too. John Kitzhaber @GovKitz

Friends,

With all due respect, put yourself in the shoes of someone who is seriously ill, and on the Oregon Health Plan. This person, to qualify for the OHP earns less than $615 a month. Now this patient has to come up with a 1000% increase for the annual application fee. Now, add to this the patient cannot afford the equipment, nor has the place to grow the patient's own meds. He is one of the MANY thousands in this predicament. But he's one of the lucky ones: he has a grower. The grower is not a patient, however. SO...guess who is going to pay the GROWER'S annual $200? Or the grower will find another patient (there are THOUSANDS of patient who need growers and cannot find one!).

From the time of initial application, to get on Social Security takes an 18 month delay... and that's a GOOD CASE SCENERIO! Now consider the hospice patient currently on welfare and the Oregon Health Plan, who would no longer qualify for the reduced fees, going through "the hoops" to get Social Security, with a minimun 18 month delay. The patient simply cannot afford the $200 application fee. NOR can he afford the fee IF he is fortunate enough to find a grower. This patient will most likely be dead before this patient's Social Security comes through.

When "We the People" (of the State of Oregon) voted in the OMMA, it was voted to be self funded, NOT a "cash cow" to help balance the budget. Somehow, our legislators, in their infinite wisdom, can fund additional staffing expenses for themselves, but want the sickest of the sick, the dying and the most physically challenged who are VERY low income to help fund their shortcomings?

Sorry, but these patients CANNOT "suck it up" and pay the additional fees!

I have a question I am hoping someone can answer...I'm not clear: IF someone is a grower/caregiver for 3 patients, and this grower/caregiver is NOT an OMMP patient, him/herself, does the grower/caregiver have to pay a $200 fee (just once), or a $200 fee for EACH patient? (IF these absurd changes to the OMMA are successful)

Thanks,

...Clifford

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