Hundreds of out-of-staters find comfort in obtaining Oregon medical marijuana cards
By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian *
Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Gary Storck of Madison, Wis., has
twice come to Oregon to obtain a medical marijuana card. He's one of
about 600 people who live in other states who have Oregon cards for
Twice in the past two years, Gary Storck has boarded Amtrak's Empire
Builder outside his hometown of Madison, Wis., and headed west to
Oregon. The trip takes about 40 hours and costs more then $1,000 -- all
for something that makes the illegal legal.
He pays a visit to one of the state's 15 or so medical marijuana
clinics, fills out an application and sees a doctor. Storck walks out an
hour later, the proud holder of an Oregon-issued medical marijuana card.
It's a process he'll have to go through each year to keep the card.
Storck, 56, is one of hundreds of out-of-staters who each year make an
unusual pilgrimage to Oregon -- the only state in the country to issue
medical marijuana cards to non-residents.
"It's not a bad place to visit," said Storck, who has used marijuana for
four decades to treat glaucoma and other chronic ailments. "It lifts my
spirits to be in a place where medical cannabis is legal and life goes on."
Some users of medical marijuana go through the effort to acquire an
Oregon card because it allows them to use the drug legally when they're
in the state. Others hope it provides some legal protection if they're
arrested in a state where medical marijuana is outlawed. Many
out-of-staters see an Oregon card as important recognition that their
use of the drug is legally recognized somewhere in the United States.
Since June 2010, when the state started issuing cards to non-residents,
nearly 600 out-of-staters have traveled here to obtain one, according to
the Oregon Health Authority, the agency that oversees the state's
medical marijuana program. And while it's a small number compared with
those issued to Oregonians --72,000 in-state residents got cards during
that period -- it's a notable development for medical marijuana
advocates and those who rely on the drug for medication.
People who live in states that outlaw the use of marijuana for medicinal
purposes say they're relieved to have their use of the drug legally
recognized -- even if their home state does not. And for those who
travel to Oregon for work or to see friends and family, a state-issued
medical marijuana card offers legal protection from arrest and
prosecution while here.
The most out-of-state applications for Oregon medical marijuana cards --
309-- came from Washington residents. Idaho came in second with 138,
California third with 50.
"There are patients who live in California and Washington or Idaho for
that matter ... who travel to Oregon to visit friends and family and
ought not be interfered with because they are possessing their
medicine," said Leland Berger, a Portland lawyer and medical marijuana
It was a 2010 case that Berger argued before the Oregon Court of Appeals
that ultimately prompted the state to drop residency requirements from
its medical marijuana program. The court upheld a California man's
conviction for marijuana possession but in its opinion noted that access
to medical treatment is a protected right of all citizens traveling from
state to state.
The appellate ruling prompted the Oregon Attorney General to issue an
opinion clarifying the state's residency requirements for a medical
marijuana cards: Anyone can obtain a medical marijuana card in Oregon as
long as the person has seen an Oregon-licensed physician who's diagnosed
a qualifying illness and suggests marijuana as treatment.
Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., have laws permitting the use of
medical marijuana. Five of those states -- Michigan, Maine, Montana,
Rhode Island and Arizona --will honor Oregon's medical marijuana card.
California, the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for
medicinal use, only issues medical marijuana identification cards to
California residents. However, state law allows California-licensed
doctors to issue recommendations for medical marijuana to
out-of-staters. Those recommendations allow a person to legally use the
drug in California.
Keith Stroup, an attorney and founder of Norml, a national group that
advocates the legalization of marijuana, said he expects most states
with medical marijuana programs will eventually drop their residency
But he and other attorneys and marijuana activists said an Oregon card
offers virtually no legal protection outside of Oregon's borders.
"I mean it's significant in the sense that it's progressive and fairly
liberal compared to other states. However, it doesn't really provide
patients with protection once they leave Oregon," said Kris Hermes,
spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a national group advocating for
medical marijuana laws.
Don Skakie, 52, of Renton, Wash., got an Oregon medical marijuana card
so he can travel through Oregon without worrying about getting arrested.
A union glazier and medical marijuana activist, Skakie is authorized to
use medical marijuana in Washington and California, too.
"I have some work down here," he said, referring to Oregon. "But if I
was to be pulled over, my Washington authorization would not be
recognized as valid. I need to be recognized as a patient so I don't go
off to jail."
Skakie, who uses medical marijuana to treat chronic back pain, said even
with authorization in three states, he's cautious about traveling with
the drug and discreet about using it. He said he recently helped move
his sister from California to Missouri.
"I still had my medicine with me on that trip and medicated as I needed
to but I was certainly hiding in the shadows and being extremely
cautious," he said.
Storck, the medical marijuana activist in Wisconsin, which doesn't have
a medical marijuana program, carries his Oregon card with him wherever
he goes even though it isn't likely to offer him much legal protection.
"To be able to have at least one state say, 'Yes, we accept that you are
a patient,' means so much to me," he said. "It was worth the trip to be
recognized as a patient. I have been fighting my whole entire adult life
for my medicine. My own home state, where I was born, won't recognize
A map of Oregon hangs in his home, a reminder that his marijuana use is
"I am really thankful to Oregon," Storck said. "I am legal in every inch
of that state and that is a beautiful thought for me."
Obtaining a card |
To obtain an Oregon medical marijuana card, applicants must:
* Complete an application with the state
* Have one of the following conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS,
Alzheimer's disease or a medical condition that causes severe pain,
severe nausea, seizures, persistent muscle spasms or cachexia
* Be seen by a doctor licensed in Oregon who can verify that the person
has a qualifying condition
* Pay a base application fee of $200. A reduced fee is available to
applicants on disability or food stamps.
Note: Applicants must list a marijuana growsite located in Oregon on the
form. Growers can grow medical marijuana but it is illegal to buy it in
the state. Applicants can be their own grower.
For source, visit - Hundreds of out-of-staters find comfort in obtaining Oregon medical marijuana cards
By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian *
Out-of-State Patients Complicate Oregon Medical Marijuana
By Steven Sandberg
Feb. 22, 2012
MEDFORD, Ore. -- In order to get a Oregon Medical Marijuana card, you
don't even need to live in Oregon.
And people on both sides of the issue say that's a fact that makes a
complicated system even more complex.
In 2010, Oregon began allowing non-residents to apply for OMMP cards,
which would allow them to obtain Oregon-grown medical marijuana.
Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Montana and Rhode Island all honor the
Oregon cards, but cardholders are not legally allowed to carry the pot
across state lines, and users can only possess the amount of pot that
is legal in the state they are in at the time. According to Oregon
Health Authority, more than 600 people outside Oregon have signed up
for the cards.
Advocates at Medford's Cannabis Community Center say the law allows
people who travel or move frequently to have access to their medicine.
But they also say the rules that are in place can sometimes lead to
people abusing the program, which can include selling marijuana or
transporting it across the country. They said that might have been
what led to several DEA raids on Rogue Valley pot grows last fall.
Based on conversations with growers at the raided sites, center
organizer Lori Duckworth says the pot was traced back to Southern
"Perhaps some of those patients, their cards were assigned to a larger
garden, they did live out of state, and they thought they'd be
protected by taking their medicine back to their home state," said
The presence of out-of-state cardholders is also problematic for law
enforcement. Officials with the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team
(RADE) say it both helps and hurts their investigations; many cases
are started by marijuana crossing state lines, but the complicated
system can come with lots of red tape.
"We'll serve search warrants here at the medical marijuana grow sites
and find large amounts of Marijuana, cash, other drugs," said
Detective Ray Myers.
The Cannabis Community Center says last fall's raids have left it
telling clients to avoid large medical pot grows. It is telling
patients to use smaller grow sites, because large grows could mean
more out-of-state users, and increase the risk it being busted.
For source, visit - Out-of-State Patients Complicate Oregon Medical Marijuana
by Steven Sandberg
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