Oregon could become a key battleground for the medical marijuana movement this fall as residents prepare to select a new state attorney general.
The race will go a long way towards determining how Oregon approaches medical cannabis going forward and whether it continues a crackdown launched last fall or eases up on the MMJ industry.
The two candidates for the job have completely different views on medical cannabis and marijuana in general. And rather than avoid the politically charged issue, both candidates have chosen to highlight, emphasize and clarify their stances on MMJ as they campaign for votes.
On one side there’s Dwight Holton, who has criticized the current medical cannabis system in the state, saying marijuana allegedly grown for medical purposes is working its way into the black market. Holton – who was acting district attorney when the state conducted raids on medical cultivation centers and related sites last fall – has called the current system a “train wreck” and vowed to reexamine the state’s MMJ policies and regulations.
On the other side there’s Ellen Rosenblum, a retired appelate judge who has publicly taken a more tolerant and lenient stance toward medical cannabis. Rosenblum recently toured a marijuana dispensary and said she will not support “hard-ball tactics” against the MMJ industry.
Rosenblum has of course won over the medical cannabis crowd, which has donated several thousand dollars to her campaign. But if medical cannabis businesses, patients and advocates are serious about influencing the election, they’ll have to ratchet up the funding and support significantly.
Oregon has nearly 56,000 registered medical cannabis patients as of April 1, which is down significantly from just six months ago. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program lists 28,200 caregivers – including roughly 100 dispensaries – in the state.