Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Oregon

Apply For Oregon Medical Marijuana Card Online

Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Oregon

Oregon medical marijuana patients with state-issued medical cannabis cards pay less for marijuana products and are not subject to arrest or prosecution for using medical marijuana as stipulated by state law. The major benefits of obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana card in Oregon are discussed below.

Legal Protection

Oregon registry identification cardholders have reasonable immunity against prosecution and arrest for the legal use, purchase, and possession of medical cannabis in accordance with the state medical marijuana law. Per Section 47C.883 of Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), individuals who hold medical marijuana cards are exempt from the state's criminal laws for possessing or purchasing medical cannabis, provided they stay within the limits allowed. Registered patients may also grow their own marijuana plants at home (within the approved limits) without the fear of arrest by law enforcement.

Patients need not carry their registry identification cards around all the time unless they have some cannabis products on their person or in their vehicles. However, when visiting licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in Oregon, patients must hold their medical marijuana cards and photo identification cards. The has legalized recreational marijuana and permits adults 21 years or older to possess and consume weed for recreational purposes legally. However, it is unlawful for any individual under the age of 21 to use or possess marijuana without a medical cannabis card. Such a person may be facing fines or jail time for this offense.

Lower Prices

In Oregon, the prices of medical marijuana products are lower than recreational cannabis products. Recreational marijuana users in the state pay a 17% retail sales tax on all adult-use cannabis purchases, and municipalities may charge an additional 3% as a local tax. However, medical marijuana is exempt from sales tax, making it cheaper to purchase than adult-use cannabis.

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

Medical cannabis patients in Oregon are authorized to possess and purchase a larger amount of cannabis than recreational consumers per time. A patient with a state-issued medical marijuana card may purchase up to 8 ounces of usable cannabis within a day or at any given time, subject to 32 ounces in one calendar month. They may also possess up to 24 ounces of usable cannabis. On the contrary, a recreational marijuana user may only purchase up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana per day with a possession limit of no more than 1 ounce in public and up 10 ounces at home.

Firearm Ownership Rights

While having an Oregon medical marijuana card and a firearm could violate federal law, state law does not prohibit having a medical cannabis card and a gun at the same time. In 2011, the state's Supreme Court ruled that law-abiding Oregon medical marijuana patients cannot be denied concealed handgun permits on the basis that they would violate federal law under the Gun Control Act of 1968. Hence, unlike in several states, having an Oregon registry identification card does not bar the cardholder from carrying a concealed gun. However, the possession and ownership of a firearm must comply with the state's gun laws.

Higher Cultivation Limits

Under Oregon marijuana laws, registered medical cannabis patients have a higher cultivation limit than adult-use consumers. While registry identification cardholders may grow up to 6 mature and 12 immature marijuana plants, recreational users may not cultivate more than 4 cannabis plants.

Access for Minors

Unlike recreational cannabis, a minor with certain debilitating medical conditions can obtain an Oregon medical marijuana card under the state's Medical Marijuana Program (OMPP) and access marijuana legally. However, they may only purchase medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries through the assistance of their caregiver, as no minor (under 18) is allowed inside any part of a dispensary where marijuana is present. On the contrary, it is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to possess, purchase, or consume recreational weed in Oregon.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Oregon

The downsides of owning an Oregon medical cannabis card include the following:

Driving Restrictions

Having a medical marijuana card in Oregon does not protect the cardholder from a marijuana DUI (driving under the influence). Although there is no specific blood THC limit for drivers, the state prohibits driving under the influence of cannabis and would not spare medical marijuana patients. A medical cannabis patient faces serious risks for operating a motor vehicle with the smallest trace of THC in their system, considering the state has no minimum THC threshold for a marijuana DUI conviction. The consequences of cannabis DUI in Oregon are severe and usually include driver's license suspension., community service, and imprisonment. It is also illegal for an Oregon medical marijuana cardholder to apply for a commercial driver's license (CDL) because federal law prohibits marijuana users from driving commercial vehicles.

Annual Renewal

Registration in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMPP) becomes invalid after one year of medical cannabis card issuance. A medical cannabis patient who fails to renew their medical marijuana card after expiration will lose their registration with the OMPP and all the associated benefits. Generally, Oregon medical cannabis cards must be renewed annually, and patients are advised to initiate the process not earlier than 90 days before their current cards expire. However, cardholders must be willing to bear all the costs and inconveniences associated with the renewal process.

A patient must obtain an Attending Provider's Statement (certification) within 90 days before the current card expires. Otherwise, it will be invalid for the renewal process. Only disabled veterans who meet the requirements in OAR (333) 008-0040 (2)(a) or (b) are exempted from submitting an Attending Provider's Statement every year. Patients may pay between $100 and $180 as a consultation fee for the re-evaluation session with their attending medical provider, which may be via telehealth or in person. They must also pay the OMPP card renewal cost of $200 unless they are eligible for reduced fees (must provide eligibility proof) as listed below:

  • Beneficiaries of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - $60
  • Beneficiaries of Oregon Health Plan (OHP) - $50
  • Beneficiaries on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and veterans - $20
  • People with a total disability rating of at least 50% arising from a service-related illness or injury - Free ($0)

Employment Restrictions

Oregon medical marijuana cardholders are at risk of workplace discrimination because employers are not required to accommodate the medical use of cannabis in the workplace as stipulated in ORS 475C.780. Per Section 659A.127 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, an employer may require that employees conform to the requirements established under the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. They may also mandate their employees to comply with other federal laws regarding the illegal use of drugs.

Any employer that requires drug testing for new job applicants and current employees has the right to do so in Oregon. Employees or job applicants who test positive for a drug test conducted by an employer are not protected under state law, even if they are medical marijuana cardholders. The employer is free to take whatever action it pleases. Federal agencies in Oregon abide by federal laws and cannot employ medical marijuana patients.

Federal Prohibitions

It is a federal offense for any Oregon medical marijuana cardholder to possess or consume cannabis on federal properties located in the state. This also applies to cannabis patients who lie in federally assisted housing. Federal law prohibits them from cultivating marijuana plants in such homes even though state law allows them to grow marijuana at home. Similarly, federal law prohibits employing marijuana users in federal offices. Hence, medical marijuana patients may not be able to apply for federal employment within the state, and any federal employee who has a medical marijuana card is at risk of losing their appointment.

In this section: