The bureaucracy of blazing

Starting this summer, weed will be legal in Oregon. Unfortunately, July is pretty far away. But there’s no need to wait if you’ve got a qualifying medical condition.

The following conditions are covered under the Oregon medical marijuana program (OMMP) and, with a doctor’s recommendation, could be reason enough to be assigned a medical marijuana card:

Severe pain
Severe nausea
Agitation due to
Alzheimer’s disease
Post-traumatic stress
Cachexia (a kind of disease that causes weight loss and is usually brought on by cancer or AIDS)
Persistent muscle spasms

The doctor who makes this recommendation must be an attending physician,  a licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.) or a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), and must be licensed to practice in Oregon. A word to the wise: Naturopaths, chiropractors and nurse practitioners cannot evaluate you for a medical marijuana card.

To get started on the process, you’re going to need:

A copy of the OMMP application, which can be found on their website
A legible, current and valid form of state or federal identification (such as a passport or a driver’s license)
The names of any applicable caregivers or growers
An attending physician’s statement form
A money order or personal check to cover the non-refundable application fee (the fee is reduced if you’re on the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Social Security, or have applicable affiliation with veteran’s rehabilitative services)

If you don’t qualify for a reduced fee, the price to submit an application is $200 at this time. The various discounts are determined based on what kind of assistance you are receiving, and the application can even cost more if you decide you want to grow your marijuana.

If you decide you would also like to grow your own marijuana, you’re going to have to designate a grow site. You can only register one grow site, and it must be in Oregon. If you want to register as a grower, just remember to fill out the grow site section of the application.

Medical marijuana approval does not automatically roll over year after year. If you’d like to keep your approval, you’re going to have to apply again at the end of the year.

While in years past the medical marijuana program has been seen as something of a holy grail for folks eager to get their smoke on legally, it’s a time-consuming and somewhat expensive process. If you’re not suffering from one of the maladies above, it’s probably best to wait.

As you likely already know, marijuana will be legalized in Oregon on July 1. Right now the difference between medical marijuana and what has been coined recreational marijuana is minimal. Once marijuana is legal in Oregon, it will be sold at participating retailers.

If you are suffering from one of the above conditions and believe that use of marijuana could make a positive impact on your life, there’s no reason to wait.