How To Lobby For Oregon H.B. 2900

Dear activist,

Below is the text of Oregon House Bill 2900, the medical-marijuana bill introduced by Rep. George Eighmey, D-Portland (District 14). H.B. 2900 would allow seriously ill Oregon patients to grow their own marijuana for therapeutic use. If endorsed by the legislature and then the voters, a patient would need a doctor's statement - not a prescription - saying that the patient might find some relief in smoking marijuana. Patients would then apply to the Board of Pharmacy to find out the amount of marijuana they could grow at home for therapeutic use. The patient would have to consent to inspections by state police, who would monitor whether patients were misusing the authorization.

Assuming you are an Oregon resident, please write to your state representative and request: 1) that he or she co-sponsor H.B. 2900; and 2) that he or she support holding a hearing on H.B. 2900.

Portland NORML's Who To Lobby web page needs updating (any volunteers?) or you would be directed there to find out each state representative's name, district, toll-free phone number, fax number, e-mail and/or snail-mail address.

However, the state of Oregon web site has such information posted at:

If there is one new activist activity you undertake in 1997, please let it be H.B. 2900. Even Rep. Eighmey seems to think H.B. 2900 is DOA. If we can get a steady stream of letters going to representatives from around the state from all of us and all the people we can enlist in such an effort, we can change things. Please resolve to help.

1) Write a letter to your state rep.

2) Follow up with a toll-free phone call via (800) 332-2313 after a few days.

3) Find out where your rep. stands on the issue. What are his/her reservations about it, if any? Share their reservations with friends, research a response, and then write back with information dispelling the representative's fears. Feel free to contact me or Portland NORML Director T.D. Miller at if you're not sure of the best way to address a legislator's concerns. Do they just want more letters from constituents? It's very important that you find other people to write letters.

4) Always be polite and professional, whether writing or calling.

A sample letter is included below, together with a list of documents you can download and include to substantiate your letter.

We can win this one. If we don't win, we can at least show we are a force to be reckoned with. The public supports medical mj. We just need to prove it to the legislature. With the Internet we can make it happen. Please put this on your front burner.

Thank you very much,

Phil Smith
Assistant Director
Portland NORML
(503) 233-0966

House Bill 2900

69th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--1997 Regular Session

NOTE: Matter within { + braces and plus signs + } in an amended section is new. Matter within { - braces and minus signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within { + braces and plus signs + } .

LC 137

House Bill 2900

Sponsored by Representative EIGHMEY


The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's brief statement of the essential features of the measure as introduced.

Allows therapeutic use of marijuana. Directs State Board of Pharmacy to establish procedures to allow eligible persons to use marijuana therapeutically and to cultivate marijuana for own use.

Refers Act to people at next regular general election.


Relating to therapeutic use of marijuana; and providing that this Act shall be referred to the people for their approval or rejection.

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. { + Sections 2 and 3 of this Act are added to and made a part of ORS 475.005 to 475.285. + }

SECTION 2. { + (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may possess marijuana for therapeutic purposes as provided in this section.

(2)(a) The State Board of Pharmacy shall establish a central registry maintained by the board that contains applications submitted under subsection (3) of this section and the biannual reports required by subsection (5) of this section.

(b) Except to verify a certification upon written request of a law enforcement agency, all information contained in the central registry is a confidential communication subject to the privilege created in ORS 40.235.

(3) A person suffering from a serious physical illness or disease may obtain a certificate authorizing the possession of marijuana for therapeutic purposes by submitting an application to the board. The application must include:

(a) The person's name, age, sex, address and telephone number;

(b) The name, address, telephone number and medical specialty, if any, of the person's attending physician;

(c) The name or description of the serious physical illness or disease for which therapeutic use of marijuana is desired, the length of time the illness or condition has existed, the stage of the illness or condition, the general health of the person, any other treatments the person has undergone and the results of those treatments;

(d) The quantity of marijuana to be used and the method and frequency of use; and

(e) A statement from the person's attending physician that the person suffers from a serious physical illness or disease and that the use of marijuana would improve the person's health or relieve physical pain and suffering caused by the illness or disease.

(4) No later than 30 days after receiving an application under subsection (3) of this section, the board shall issue to the applicant a numbered certificate authorizing the person to possess marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

(5) A person who is authorized to possess marijuana under this section shall:

(a) Display the certificate authorizing the possession to a law enforcement officer upon the officer's request;

(b) Every six months for as long as the therapeutic use of marijuana continues, submit a report to the board updating the information contained in the application and the results of the therapy; and

(c) Return the certificate to the board when the therapeutic use of marijuana ceases.

(6) The board may adopt any rules necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. The board may charge a person applying for a certificate under this section a fee in an amount reasonably calculated to cover the costs of issuing the certificate and maintaining the central registry.

(7) For purposes of this section, 'serious physical illness or disease' means a severe medical condition that causes significant pain and suffering or impairment of a person's physical health, as the board may further define by rule. + }

SECTION 3. { + (1) The State Board of Pharmacy, in coordination with the Oregon State Police, shall adopt procedures and requirements to authorize persons certified under section 2 of this 1997 Act to cultivate marijuana for personal use. Procedures and requirements adopted pursuant to this section shall include but not be limited to:

(a) A requirement that the Oregon State Police inspect property on which marijuana is cultivated pursuant to authorization under this section at the request of the board and according to procedures established by the Oregon State Police.

(b) Establishment of a maximum amount of marijuana that a person authorized under this section may cultivate. This amount shall be based upon the attending physician's dosage and use recommendation.

(c) A requirement that a person authorized under this section to cultivate marijuana may not distribute marijuana to any other person.

(2) The board shall make available to a person authorized under this section to cultivate marijuana written information regarding how to effectively and safely cultivate marijuana.

Notwithstanding this requirement, a person authorized under this section is personally responsible for the safe and effective cultivation of marijuana.

(3) The board may revoke an authorization under this section if the board finds that a person intentionally violates any provision of this section or section 2 of this 1997 Act or rules adopted pursuant thereto or any other state law relating to the use, possession or distribution of marijuana. + }

SECTION 4. { + The State Board of Pharmacy and the Oregon State Police may adopt all rules necessary for the implementation and administration of sections 2 and 3 of this Act. + }

SECTION 5. { + This Act shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next regular general election held throughout this state. + }

Sample letter (individualize with your own additions):

Dear Rep. ?????,

As your constituent, I am writing to ask your support for House Bill 2900, the medical-marijuana bill introduced by Rep. George Eighmey, D-Portland.

H.B. 2900 would allow seriously ill Oregon patients under the care of a physician to grow their own marijuana for therapeutic use. If endorsed by the legislature and then the voters, H.B. 2900 would save the lives and alleviate the suffering of countless Oregonians. H.B. 2900 would also put an end to the wasteful expenditure of limited tax dollars on prosecuting and incarcerating sick people.

A copy of H.B. 2900 is enclosed, together with some supporting documents.

Please co-sponsor H.B. 2900.

Please support holding a hearing on H.B. 2900.

The public already supports medical-marijuana reform, as shown by successful initiatives last fall in California and Arizona. A news release I'm attaching is only the latest indicating Americans everywhere support medical marijuana two-to-one.

I will be calling your office in the next few days to ascertain your position on H.B. 2900. If you have any objections or concerns about the bill, I hope you or your staff will share them with me at that time so I can attempt to overcome any such objections in the future.


Your name
Your address
Your phone number
Your e-mail address, if any

It's best to individualize your letter by handwriting it or printing it out and mailing it, but faxes are also good. E-mail is considered less important, like you spent less time on it. But if that's all that's available, go ahead and do e-mail.

Here is a list of documents you could include with your first or subsequent letters. Please e-mail me if you do not have web access and I'll e-mail you back anything you need from the web.

"Clinic sells marijuana as medicine," from The Sunday Oregonian, February 23, 1997. Defying the law and mainstream medical practice, an outlaw clinic in downtown Portland is dispensing marijuana to sick and dying people. "It's obvious what we are trying to do here. It might be illegal, but it sure is not immoral," said Joe, 34, who has the AIDS virus.

"How many editors does it take to see the light?" from The Oregonian, Jan. 9, 1997. A reader responds to the paper's ignorant "Choosing to fight" staff editorial of Jan. 3, 1997, which stated, "The Clinton administration maps out the right course in battle over medical-marijuana initiatives" (by threatening to prosecute doctors who recommend cannabis to their patients).

"Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," from the January 30, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. The author, Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer, is the journal's editor-in-chief. Thousands of patients with cancer, AIDS, and other diseases report they have obtained striking relief from their devastating symptoms by smoking marijuana. A federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane. Marijuana may (or may not) have long-term adverse effects and its use may (or may not) presage serious addictions, but neither long-term side effects nor addiction is a relevant issue in such patients. It is also hypocritical to forbid physicians to prescribe marijuana while permitting them to use morphine and meperidine to relieve extreme dyspnea and pain. What really counts for a therapy with this kind of safety margin is whether a seriously ill patient feels relief as a result of the intervention, not whether a controlled trial "proves" its efficacy. Whatever their reasons, federal officials are out of step with the public. Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat.

"Marihuana as Medicine: A Plea for Reconsideration," from The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 21, 1995, by Lester Grinspoon, MD, and James B. Bakalar, JD. In 1988 the DEA's own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, declared that marihuana in its natural form fulfilled the legal requirement of currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. He added that it was "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." His order that the marihuana plant be transferred to Schedule II was overruled, not by any medical authority, but by the DEA itself, which issued a final rejection of all pleas for reclassification in March 1992. It is time for physicians to acknowledge more openly that the present classification is scientifically, legally, and morally wrong.

"Marijuana: Medical Papers (1839-1972)" (Lengthy.) The Introduction from the out-of-print classic by Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, formerly in charge of marijuana research for the National Institute of Mental Health. The "Introduction" surveys the history of marijuana as a medicine, particularly Western medical literature since 1839, when cannabis first entered the pharmacopoeia.

"Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn't," High Times, July 1994. Marinol is not marijuana. The magazine's original "Table of Contents" reads, "The government claims marijuana has no medical value, yet has spent millions developing synthetic THC to treat the same illnesses for which marijuana is allegedly useless. What's going on? A scam."

"American Medical Association Opposes the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937," the protest delivered to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, July 12, 1937.

"Deglamorising Cannabis," from The Lancet, Britain's most widely respected, peer-reviewed medical journal, Volume 346, Number 8985, November 11, 1995. "The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health. ... Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be."

The American Public Health Association endorses medical marijuana. Drug warriors like to say they will stop arresting sick people when "doctors stand up" for medical marijuana. Guess what? They already have, in a vote of the membership reported in the March 1996 American Journal of Public Health. The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world. The APHA represents more than 50,000 members and has been effectively influencing policies and setting priorities in public health since 1872.

The DEA's own 1988 ruling that marijuana should be moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2. (Lengthy.) According to the DEA's own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, it's not necessary for APHA or the AMA or any other organization to endorse medical marijuana. Only that a "significant minority" of physicians approve it.

"Research Findings on Medicinal Properties of Marijuana," January 1997, a review of about 75 scientific studies on marijuana and health, by Kevin B. Zeese, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy.

"Poll Finds Overwhelming Support For Medical Marijuana," an item in the Feb. 20, 1997 Portland NORML Weekly News Release.


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