The number of people from outside Oregon holding medical cannabis cards from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program continues to drop in the wake of new rules that closed the program to new out of state applicants as of March 1, 2016. Existing cardholders are grandfathered in until their card expires. Wisconsin saw patient numbers drop from an all-time high of 59 in January, to 40 in April and now to 33 in the July report, with a drop in caregivers from 12 in January to 7 as of July. No Wisconsin growers were listed, down from 5 in January. We first started taking a look at these stats about a year ago, “Wisconsin ranks high in out of state patients holding Oregon medical pot cards.”
The numbers from Jan. 1, 2016 showed an 18% increase in Wisconsin patients enrolled in the program in just three months. There were 59 Wisconsin patients as of Jan. 1, 2016, up from 50 on Oct. 1, 2015. The increase for the year is a whopping 268% from the 22 Wisconsin patients registered Jan. 1, 2015. But now, with no new patients coming in because of the cutoff, numbers continue to drop from the high of 59 at the start of 2016 to only 33 as of July 2016, a 44% drop.
You may wonder how it came to be that the Oregon’s medical marijuana program became the only state program accepting patients from all 50 states. An April 14, 2010 ruling by the Oregon Court Of Appeals in the case State v. Berringer, eliminated the requirement for Oregon residency, opening the OMMP to qualifying patients from anywhere in the United States. Before the successful litigation, OMMP registration was limited solely to Oregon residents since its inception in 1998. In Sept. 2010, I was in Portland with Jacki Rickert for the national NORML conference and we became the first Wisconsin patients to register with the OMMP.
As an OMMP cardholder since 2010, I’ve been closely watching developments. In Feb. 2016, I traveled to Oregon and joined Oregon medical cannabis advocates at the Capitol in Salem in lobbying for the introduction of legislation that would reverse the rule prohibiting out of state patients in the OMMP. Any such legislation would have to wait until Oregon lawmakers reconvene in 2017.