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Cartels, illegal growers exploit medical marijuana program

Statesman Journal



Loopholes in Oregon's medical marijuana program coupled with Mexican drug cartels continue to make black market cannabis a lucrative and pervasive business in Oregon, according to a new report from the Department of Justice.

The 64-page report was produced by the Oregon HIDTA (high intensity drug trafficking areas) program, a federally funded agency, to assess the state's problems with and solutions to drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

It highlighted three specific problems with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program: the large number of cardholders; difficulties in investigating those card holders and their growers; and the attraction of selling surplus cannabis on the black market.

Oregonians legalized medical marijuana in 1998. The program was sold to voters as a modest one with plans to add about 500 patients per year. But today's Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has more than 60,000 patients who carry permission to own double the number of plants and more than five times the amount of smokeable product than was originally envisioned.

A major loophole cited by the report centered around caregivers, who are allowed to grow and carry medical cannabis for an unlimited number of patients.

The report concludes by stating that home invasions will continue to rise at grow sites, and the "exploitation of the current medical marijuana laws will continue to encourage larger indoor marijuana grow operations, impede law enforcement efforts to investigate illegal marijuana operations and contribute to the volume of marijuana trafficking through and out of the state."

Read more of this artilce at http://www.oregonlive.com/marijuana/index.ssf/2014/06/medical_marijuana_in_oregon_st.html