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Josh Marquis, Not “Anybody Can Get A Medical Marijuana Permit”

josh marquis oregon marijuana

(image via oregonlive.com)

One of the more frustrating things about listening to elected officials debate marijuana legalization, aside from their lack of current experience using marijuana, is their consistent mischaracterization of Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program, or OMMP.

In his debate vs. Rep. Earl Blumenauer at the Salem City Club, Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, the leading spokesman against our Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative, tried to minimize the need for the measure by citing erroneous suppositions about medical marijuana.

The Oregonian reported Marquis’ assertion that “almost any adult can get a medical marijuana permit and legally possess up to a pound and a half of the drug.” Marquis sarcastically added, “God forbid they get down to just a pound of marijuana, which could probably keep someone zorked out all year,” clearly not understanding that the sickest patients need greater amounts since they are compounding that raw cannabis into edible or vaporizable forms.

Oregon, as do all other medical marijuana states, suffers from California Quasi-Legalization Perception. The medical marijuana law there includes the right for doctors to recommend medical marijuana for ”any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.” There is also no statewide medical marijuana card or registry system. This has led to the infamous Venice Beach bikini sign-twirlers advertising marijuana recommendations for $40, which can be obtained by fabricating any ailment, leading to immediate admittance to hundreds of pot shops. Indeed, medical marijuana in California is really a hodge-podge of quasi-marijuana-legality with a doctor’s permission slip.

But that’s not the case in Oregon, or, for that matter, any of the other 22 medical marijuana states. Washington is the only other medical marijuana state with no card and registry system, further compounding the perception that all West Coast medical marijuana states are similarly lax in their standards.

In Oregon, “any other condition” will not qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation, period. Not only must a patient exhibit cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cachexia, spasms, seizures, chronic pain, nausea, or PTSD to qualify, but there must also be notes detailing that condition in medical records from three separate doctor visits within the past three years before a medical marijuana clinic will approve a recommendation. Visits to these doctors can reach up to $1,000 in expense before the patient can then fill out paperwork and pay more fees to the state for a medical marijuana registry card. Then, and only then, can that patient gain admittance to a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary, yet another significant difference from California and Washington, which do not license, inspect, or regulate dispensaries.

Many people who would easily qualify for a medical marijuana card do not get one because of the time, hassle, expense, and lack of privacy involved in registering with the state. Under Measure 91, those people won’t have to jump through all those hoops and sacrifice their privacy in order to acquire marijuana for their treatment; so long as they are 21 years of age, they will be able to shop for marijuana in a secure, adults-only store with healthy adults. It is disheartening to hear the Clatsop County District Attorney exhibit such a lack of concern for the sickest, most vulnerable Oregonians.


About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


  1. Marquis proves over and over again that abstinence leads to an inability to think deeply and honestly about complex issues. He has no business being a DA. Oregon deserves better.

  2. “Anybody Can Get A Medical Marijuana Permit”

    Sure, if you have money, you can have access to just about anything.

  3. JoshMarquiscorrupted? on

    Josh Marquis is a blithering idiot.
    I am a medical cannabis patient and I greatly resent Marquis’ remarks.
    Perhaps his stock portfolio could explain his attitude;wanna bet how many Big Pharma shares he has inside?

  4. The fact the some individuals are not adhering to the letter of the law, when it comes to cannabis, disturbs me no more than the abolitionists who violated the fugitive slave law or any other egregiously unjust and irrational law. And the federal prohibition laws against cannibals are on par with such laws because they have denied free access to a plant that offers enormous health and material benefits.

    This has led to needless suffering for millions of humans, and other animals too, who could have benefited from the healing potential of cannabis. The federal cannabis prohibition laws deny a basic human right of access to a safe and truly efficacious medicine.

    The real chronic liars and cheaters are those who have imposed cannabis prohibition on all of us for purely political, ideological and profit reasons.

  5. Many are liars. Many are cheaters. I have yet to find a case of an OMMP grower/patient who was 100% compliant with the actual letter of the law. Additionally, they seemed to be violating the spirit of the law too (consumption rates above basic medical necessity). Patients have big temptations to use their Cannabis to subsidize their medical bills.

    How can you expect people to be compliant with a law that legally mandates slavery (growers are legally required to work for free and the product is the patients legal property even if the grower paid for everything and did all the work)? The people who wrote the law must have either been pretty abnormally communistic or more likely, chronic cheaters.

  6. Ironically, it is a federal crime for an employer to discriminate with non-impairment based drug standards. It seems that UA’s and Pot are a social norm and not actually legal as applied…..Well, unless you think it is empirically legitimate to claim someone is impaired by a non-psychoactive metabolite instead of actually testing their “impairment.”

    Its similar to another related experience I had when an employer found me to be a great candidate for a job but wouldn’t hire me because I admitted to possibly having a possession ticket in years past. That is actually illegal. I watched the higher up make the order to the hiring manager over the phone in front of my face. I wish I had known it at the time, I could have sued them. I made the observation my self and there was a third employee right there watching. Both the hiring manager and third employee talked about how they felt the higher ups call was inappropriate.

  7. The bad thing is that it “medicalizes” the drug usage more than what you would find in a “normal” legalization environment. Before Alcohol was re-legalized, you found the same thing with that then as you do with Cannabis now-doctor’s prescribing medical alcohol. How many people are using medical Alcohol now? How would you be looked at in the community if you decided to starte the “wonders of medical Alcohol” campaign? The point is that medicalization without legalization causes people to “fake” medical conditions to justify getting the medical license. It also encourages people to not solve their medical problems or to ignore cheaper, easier, more effective, or non-psychotropic treatments because they result in loss of Cannabis consumption permission. In an actual legalization scenario, the only benefit to medical Cannabis would be lower prices from no taxation and more refined/clean products. If you want your health insurance to cover Cannabis therapy, it must also cover Lavander or Ginger therapy for example.

  8. I get not being politically popular with the anti-pot set, but California is always looked to as “what not to do” with medical marijuana; but is it so bad that people/patients in California have equal/easier access to medical marijuana, especially given it’s not legalized there? I mean, I have my card for depression and anxiety yet I don’t see anyone clamoring to add these everyday illnesses to the medical marijuana “acceptable ailments list”…so I guess it’s pill popping for us if the acceptable ailments in California ever change too to meet political pressure?

  9. Employer mandated urinary loyalty oath causing consternation? Well, urine luck!
    http://www.urineluck.COM/quick-fix-plus-ounce-p-268.html (I am not affiliated with that vendor except as a satisfied customer)

    So far the only thing I’ve heard that will defeat synthetic urine is if the test includes PEDs specifically HGH. It gets kicked out at the lab because it isn’t human urine so no organic growth hormones.

    The NFL may face a major brouhaha over players’ medicinal use of cannabis in the near future if they go to training camp ignorant of this flaw in the product:

  10. That’s what they say here in Michigan. $100.00 get your med card.for starters but then you have no job prtectection if your employer wants to test you. Also you get a lot of breaking and entering armed robbers who steal from licensed growers. Cops who use trickery to make drug busts. Oh forgot you need State approval before med card is approved. After all that you still don’t have enough protections. The only way is legalization

  11. Anslinger's Goon on

    Ahh…memories of California…

    In all seriousness, I think that it’s critical that folks who are on the fence not be fooled into voting down 91 b/c of this claim of easy access to MMJ.

    I’m mostly concerned about people who are pro-pot but vote this down for silly reasons they give. Russ, please help and give airtime to folks who might vote no for this reason, even abstaining and not voting on that particular measure is better than a no vote if a yes vote is not going to happen.

  12. “Private Prison industry and their cash contributions from Big Pharma & Big Alcohol to their campaigns!”

    Big Pharma gives more to Republicans.


    Private Prison industry gives more to Republicans.



    Booze industry gives more to Repubs…


    Especially to Republicans like U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith…


    > Congressman speaking out against marijuana and Obama’s approach to it has received at least $20,000 from the beer and liquor industry this cycle

    > DENVER — A national marijuana advocacy organization is calling on U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) to explain why he is speaking out against marijuana and accusing the current administration of encouraging its use when he is in fact receiving money from the alcohol industry, which produces, distributes and promotes a far more harmful substance.


    You left out Prison Guard and Cop unions. They lean left.

  13. Oh no! Adults getting access to evil weed! Even adults who might not actually be dying at the moment! What is the matter with these people?

  14. From the Oregonian:

    > “Every argument you hear here against Measure 91 could have been heard 90 years ago against prohibition” of alcohol, replied Blumenauer.

    Bless his heart.

  15. I think that’s the standard line in most EVERY Medical Marijuana State. Prohibitionists will ALWAYS claim “… ANYONE can get a Medical Marijuana card.” Which we know is NOT true! Here in AZ, we had a TV Reporter do a story on “anyone being able to get a Medical Marijuana card” story. He went undercover to a Dr. and told the Dr, this elaborate LIE about his knees really giving him trouble when he runs. So bad that he hasn’t been able to run for awhile. He even brought med records recording a knee surgery he previously had. The Dr examined him and then asked him if he’d ever used marijuana before? The guy said “No, do you think it’ll help me?” The Dr said he couldn’t guarantee out cuz it’s different for everyone but if he hurt it’s worth a try at least and have him his recommendation.

    Then he walks out and gets in front of a camera and tells everyone that ANYONE could get a card. That HE just went in their and fabricated an injury. What he FAILED to tell everyone in his report was that HE BROKE THE LAW by fabricating an illness. He went in and LIED to GET a card, then blamed the system!

    It’s like that everywhere, y’all should know that by now! What’s their favorite line? “What about the children?”. Those who don’t know… MOCK! Prohibitionists will stop at NOTHING to keep their “cash cow” for law enforcement coming in. Keep their stock up, in the Private Prison industry and their cash contributions from Big Pharma & Big Alcohol to their campaigns! They KNOW they can’t win on the FACTS! Therefore they’ll climb a TREE to tell you a LIE, when they could stand on the ground and tell you the truth!

  16. Marquis’s glib and dismissive statements are aggravating. Not only does it reveal his level of ignorance about cannabis but it demonstrates a contempt for the those who need it for restoring their health.

    There are only 65,000 Oregonians who currently have a medical cannabis card because of the very limited allowed illness/conditions. There are many more illnesses and conditions that should be on that list. Hell, everyone needs cannabis as a daily cannabinoid supplement even if they are young, fit and in “good” health. With all of the toxins in our food and the environment in general we need to give our endocannibinoids systems all the help they can get to support the body’s homeostasis (well being and health). And the only source of cannabinoid supplements are the phytocannabinoids produced by the amazing cannabis plant. A plant that has 932 identified chemical compounds that work synergistically in ways we are only beginning to understand and appreciate.

    Cannabis is not a “drug” it is a plant, the herb of herbs.

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