An article published by Oregon Live this morning states that Oregon has proposed to increase medical marijuana fees, ultimately affecting licensed growers and cannabis processors. An impending proposal by the Oregon Health Authority is being highly considered. Medical marijuana growers would be obligated to pay a $200 annual per patient they grow for. The agency also suggested a $4,000 annual fee for people who extract cannabis or produce concentrates, also known as medical marijuana processors.
A meeting on Monday of the health authority’s rules advisory committee is where Oregon’s proposed fee increase was first discussed, including the process of drafting regulations for the medical marijuana industry as well as parts of the recreational marijuana industry. The fees, if finalized, would go into effect March 1.
Currently medical marijuana growers in Oregon are able grow cannabis for up to four patients. Under present rules, the state is charging only $50 for every patient a grower has, but newer developments find that the health authority’s production and processing costs persuaded officials to propose the steeper fees to help cover the agency’s expenses. The fee increase is estimated to boost revenue from $1.3 million to $5.2 million in the 2015-17 budget cycle.
People who grow only for personal use will not be subject to any additional expense. The $200 cost of securing a Oregon medical marijuana card will also remain the same. Oregon, along with Minnesota and New Jersey, have the highest medical marijuana patient fees in the country.
Oregon’s medical marijuana patients have long complained about cost of securing a card, revenue that is used to fund the state’s medical marijuana program, including dispensary regulation, as well as a wide range of public health efforts.
In setting new fees for growers the agency did take into consideration the potential shift away from medical cannabis into the state’s regulated recreational program concerning patients and dispensaries.
Growers that are currently or plan on producing for the dispensary market are subject to newer production limits, record-keeping conditions and potential inspections by state regulators. The medical marijuana program may add more employees, depending on how many growers and dispensaries end up in the medical program and fall under the new rules.
It’s estimated that 40 percent of dispensaries will most likely transition to the recreational market. The state gathers a $4,000 fee from dispensaries alone each year; Oregon is home to 334 registered dispensaries, according to the state. On the other hand the agency is preparing for a potential decline in medical marijuana participation.