Oregon resumes medical marijuana cards

June 16, 2005

, Associated Press

Oregon resumed issuing medical marijuana cards today, after a review by Attorney General Hardy Myers.

Myers concluded that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 13 does not invalidate the state's program.

The nation's top court held that federal authorities can prosecute marijuana possession under federal drug laws, even in states like Oregon, where medical use of the drug is legal.

The Human Services Department had continued processing applications — but discontinued issuing registration cards — after the Supreme Court's decision.

'Starting today, we will mail 100 to 150 cards per day until the 547 applications that the program approved since June 13 have been mailed,' Grant Higginson, administrator of the DHS Office of Community Health and Health Planning, said Friday. 'We are resuming standard operations in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.'

Higginson said, however, that Myers' opinion also says the state law can't protect marijuana plants from seizure nor individuals from prosecution if the federal government chooses to take action against patients or caregivers.

The state will alert applicants and card holders that, although the state law protects them from state prosecution, it does not protect them from federal prosecution under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

More than 10,000 qualified patients now have registration cards through the state program, one of 11 in the nation.

Patients qualify for the program if a state-licensed physician stipulates that they suffer from one of nine conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, severe pain, or persistent muscle spasms, and that the patient may benefit from the use of marijuana.

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