Tag Archives: Oregon medical marijuana

Marijuana legalization in Oregon has potential test case about employees…

Admin; this will be an interesting case if pursued after legalization since she could also be a tobacco and alcohol user.

Oregon TV Anchor Fired After Testing Positive for Marijuana

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jul 24, 2015, 4:49 PM ET

By GOSIA WOZNIACKA Associated Press

An Oregon television anchor has turned into a marijuana activist after being fired for testing positive for the drug.

Cyd Maurer, a morning weekend anchor at Eugene’s ABC affiliate KEZI-TV, said she was fired in May after getting into a minor accident while on assignment. In a video posted online, Maurer said that after the accident she was forced to take a drug test per company policy and failed it.

Maurer, 25, said she was completely sober at work and had used the marijuana several days before. Studies show marijuana, unlike alcohol, can be detected in some people for days after use — or even weeks, in case of frequent users.

Maurer, who has been working in television for the past three years and is a University of Oregon graduate, said she didn’t do anything wrong and felt the firing was discriminatory.

“I don’t fit the lazy stupid loser stereotype,” she said, adding she’s a responsible user and has never come to work impaired.

KEZI general manager Mike Boring declined comment. “We do not discuss personnel matters,” Boring said.

Recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon in July, after Maurer was fired. But even if the incident had happened after legalization, according to the state, KEZI still would have had the right to have a testing policy. Measure 91, which legalized possession and consumption, does not affect existing employment law. Employers who require drug testing can continue to do so, Oregon officials said.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even though more than twenty states — including Oregon — allow medical marijuana use. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C., also allow recreational use.

Kate Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the Society for Human Resource Management, said the organization has received numerous questions from members around the country about the effects of changing state marijuana laws on drug testing. At two national conferences this year, she said, training sessions about drug testing were packed to overflowing.

“HR professionals are trying to keep up to date with laws and make sure their policies incorporate the changing landscape legally,” Kennedy said.

In June, a court in Colorado ruled that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back. The patient, a quadriplegic, said he didn’t use the drug at work. The company, Dish Network, agreed that he wasn’t high on the job, but it said it has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, use of the drug couldn’t be considered legal off-duty activity.

The case was being watched closely by employers and pot smokers in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. Supreme courts in California, Montana and Washington state have made similar rulings in the past.

Over a decade ago in Oregon, a forklift driver who had a medical marijuana card was also fired after taking a drug test following an accident at work. The state found no evidence he had been impaired on the job.

But Maurer, the fired anchor, said she was tired of hiding the use of a substance that’s now legal in the state and wants to start a conversation about the drug. She’s also planning a new career in the marijuana industry.



Oregon is now scheduled to open their medical marijuana stores.



Oregon medical marijuana shops opening this week with state approval


Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries are opening for the first time with state approval. (The Associated Press/File)


Medical marijuana shops in Oregon are opening their doors with state approval for the first time this week, but at least one may not be in business very long.

The Releaf Center, a dispensary located just outside Hermiston city limits, opened its doors Tuesday for the first time since Feb. 28. Owner Jim Ruhe said he shut the store down when the state’s dispensary law went into effect March 1, and waited for the state to approve his facility registration. The shop, and many like it around the state, had previously existed in a sort of legal gray area, neither explicitly authorized nor banned under state law.

Releaf’s state certificate came in the mail Monday afternoon, he said, and now hangs on the shop’s wall.

But the store could be shuttered again soon, this time for more than a year, if the Umatilla County Commission enacts a moratorium on dispensaries when it meets next week.

“How do I look my patients in the eye and say, ‘There’s nothing I can do for you,'” Ruhe said. “It’s a terrible feeling.”

George Murdock, vice chairman of the Umatilla County board of commissioners, said the commission will consider the issue at its April 2 meeting, but “whatever way we go, it’s going to be painful.”

Murdock said it’s the commissioners’ job to uphold the law, but a conflict between the federal prohibition on marijuana and the state’s law allowing registered facilities to sell the drug creates a “huge conundrum” for them. He said he didn’t think the issue should be decided at the county level, but state law leaves it up to them.

That law is SB 1531, which Gov. John Kitzhaber signed last week, days before the state began issuing medical marijuana facility licenses on Friday. It gives cities and counties until May 1 to block medical marijuana stores from setting up shop within their borders for up to a year. As many as a dozen communities already have passed or are considering ordinances that would do just that.

For at least six of the eight dispensaries the state approved last week, three in Portland and one each in Salem, Eugene and Bend, the moratoriums may not be a problem. They face another kind of uncertainty stemming from SB 1531.

The law also directs the Oregon Health Authority to set rules requiring pot products to be packaged in child-proof containers and prohibiting marijuana products that could be attractive to children. The agency last week proposed rules prohibiting dispensaries from selling nearly all pot-infused “edibles,” such as hash brownies and other sweet treats.

Those products make up about 15 percent of dispensary sales, store owners say, and help patients who cannot smoke and those who need a longer-lasting dose than other forms of the drug can provide.

Marijuana-infused cakes and cookies are “almost a requirement” for James Erickson’s wife. She suffers from chronic nausea, and cannot smoke or inhale the drug. They tried making their own edibles, he said, but “it was a nightmare,” so now they buy them.

The rule banning the sweets could change later this week before it goes into effect, the agency said.

For now, some dispensary owners are pulling pot-laced treats from their shelves and putting future orders on hold. Store owners say compliance is their priority, even as local ordinances and rules are subject to change.

As for Ruhe, he said he’ll make a “last-ditch effort” to appeal to the county commissioners, then “hope for the best.

Oregon Medical marijuana registries legitamize the dispensary process.


Medical marijuana in Oregon: Dispensary registry starts up Monday


A worker the Human Collective in Tigard dispenses medical marijuana in April of 2012 The dispensary was later shut down by Washington County authorities and then moved to Portland. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian)


Noelle Crombie | ncrombie@oregonian.comBy Noelle Crombie | ncrombie@oregonian.com
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on February 27, 2014 at 3:30 PM, updated February 27, 2014 at 8:03 PM


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Oregon’s latest experiment with marijuana policy begins Monday – 8:30 a.m. sharp, to be exact — when what is expected to be a crush of medical marijuana retailers registers with the state.

The dispensary registry, the product of 2013 legislation, legitimizes the already-booming business of medical marijuana in Oregon, home to about 60,500 people legally allowed to use cannabis for medical purposes.

For months, public health officials have laid groundwork for a new state bureaucracy: theMedical Marijuana Dispensary Program. The program, funded with annual fees paid by dispensaries, begins accepting applications online Monday morning.

It’s a milestone moment for Oregon, one of the first states to allow marijuana for medicinal use when it did so 16 years ago. As the program’s rolls have swelled, many patients have sought retail access to cannabis, arguing that growing their own marijuana or finding someone to do it for them was unrealistic if not impossible.

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, a sponsor of the dispensary legislation, said the new program represents a significant moment in the politics and perception of marijuana.

“Obviously the momentum is with those of us who believe marijuana is not the all-dangerous, scary, damaging drug that it has been depicted (to be) in the war on drugs.

“To me,” said Buckley, “it’s like this is a step in ending the hypocrisy around marijuana.”

Tom Burns, director of pharmacy programs with the Oregon Health Authority, addresses what will be required of medical marijuana retailers when they register with the state.Oregon’s latest experiment with marijuana policy beings Monday — 8:30 a.m. sharp, to be precise — when what is expected to be a crush of medical marijuana retailers register with the state.

In addition to giving patients retail access to marijuana, the new dispensary program also represents the first effort by the state to regulate and enforce rules for the thriving retail trade. For the first time, regulators are expected to make unannounced annual inspections to these establishments, which are required to turn over their marijuana sales records and archived surveillance on demand.

And while the new program regulates retail access, many other elements of the medical marijuana industry remain unchecked. Commercial marijuana producers, for instance, will continue to operate without oversight.

So too do marijuana testing labs, a cottage industry set to take off given the state requirement that cannabis sold in dispensaries undergo testing for mold, mildew and pesticide. Marijuana-infused products, a fast-growing niche nationwide, also remains unregulated in Oregon.

Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties and the former Lincoln County district attorney, said gaps in the state’s medical marijuana program are glaring. Bovett, who sat on the committee that crafted rules for the industry, called it “the most unregulated marijuana dispensary program” in the country.

Officials with the Oregon Health Authority, the agency that oversees the medical marijuana program and the dispensary registry, don’t know how many of the state’s existing marijuana retailers will register on Monday. Advocates estimate up to 200 outlets currently operate statewide. Starting next week, they’ll have to register to operate legally.

Tom Burns, who will oversee the dispensary registry program, estimated that 350 applications will be submitted Monday, with another 50 or so coming in by the end of the first week.

Burns said he’s not worried about dispensary operators failing to register.

“We will find them,” he said. “I am positive that those people who do register and have gone through the process will self-regulate and will turn in their competitors who aren’t.”

State law restricts where dispensaries can locate; they must be at least 1,000 feet from each other and from schools. Health authority officials will issue licensed on a first-come, first-served basis, which is likely to translate into competition among outlets vying to secure an address in close proximity to another dispensary.

Burns said four staff members – two inspectors and two administrators, including himself – will process the applications next week and hope to begin issuing registrations by the following week. He doesn’t expect to begin inspections until spring.

He said regulators will check up on dispensary operators to see if they’re checking for valid medical marijuana cards and identification, that marijuana is “locked up and not visible to the public,” and that the establishment’s security system meets state requirements. He said inspectors may ask to review video surveillance to make sure employees are checking for valid medical marijuana cards. They’ll check to make sure employees are keeping accurate inventory records.

One area where Burns won’t give operators any leeway: maintaining a grow site in the establishment.

Dispensaries may not also serve as grow sites, a rule Burns said regulators will strictly enforce. (Retail outlets, however, may keep immature marijuana plants on hand. By law, plants larger than 12 inches are considered mature.)

“We will come out and visit you and if we find you are growing, we will close you down,” Burns told a group of medical marijuana industry representatives at a meeting last weekend at a North Portland brewery.

At least for the early stages of the program, Burns’ chief goal is to make sure medical marijuana retailers are registered with the state.

“I don’t anticipate us playing hardball right out of the box, other than I want everybody to be registered,” said Burns. “Our goal is to make a safe way for patients to get their medicines in a manner that meets the intent of the law.”

— Noelle Crombie