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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
"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
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.
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
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
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."
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
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.
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
Makes me wonder if SB 777 or HB 3664 could have reduced the cardholder
population by that much!
"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
> 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
I strongly recommend contacting the three legislators responsible for adding
> Rep. Tim Freeman
> Rep. Tina Kotek
> Rep. Jeff Barker
In addition, contact leaders in the House and Senate who may have influence
on this matter:
> Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna
> Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan
> Senate President Peter Courtney
> Sen. Floyd Prozanski
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
"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
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