Legalization has dealt a huge blow to Oregon’s MMJ program. The number of patients who are registered with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), has decreased from last year. Last year there were 59,137 OMMP card-carrying members compared to this year’s total of 34,89,2 a 41% drop, with membership expected to continue to decrease.
With the ease of access to cannabis now through recreational sales, it has allowed current OMMP members to consider not renewing their card. Some patients are opting to pay the sales tax associated with their purchase (20%) in the retail market, rather than pay the $200 required yearly membership fee. Also back in August the state chose to reduce the amount patients can purchase per day, down from 24 ounces to now of a maximum of 1 ounce, making membership even less appealing.
Patients aren’t the only ones cutting ties with MMJ; growers are as well. Starting this year, growers who participate in the MMJ program are required to use an online state tracking system. The system, named Metrc, is a reporting system that is used to track the movement of product. Even though the state provides the initial training growers are finding it difficult and confusing to use, and what it makes it more frustrating is that the resources available for support are lacking. Demand has also decreased especially for smaller growers as their relatively small base of patients are choosing to purchase on the retail side.