Nearly three months after Oregon legalized medical marijuana dispensaries, the first of four public hearings on the rules was held in Bend Thursday afternoon.
A small crowd of patients, shop owners and community members came to the Deschutes County administrative building to voice concerns before the Oregon Health Authority.
Those who testified raised questions from the language of House Bill 3460, to rules outlawing consumption of medicine inside the dispensaries.
"They're pretty much given access to these very potent medicines and really not given any way of how to go about learning the the proper use to do it," Medication Station Owner Ryan Garcia told state officials.
But most of the of testimony revolved around an OHA ruling handed down a couple of weeks ago.
The agency says patients may no longer get marijuana with just the receipts of their approved program application. Now, people must wait until they're issued their official Oregon Medical Marijuana Program card.
"They may have to wait two weeks or more to get their card to access the medicine that they are legally entitled too," said Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse Clinic Manager Tristan Reisfar of Bend.
OHA officials said lately, the new card rule is the department's biggest complaint.
Dispensary owners said they now daily turn away patients still waiting on their cards.
"A perfect example is a little girl with Crohn's disease, and her parents are very desperately, needing to get a hold of the correct medicines," Garcia said.
The testimony from the hearing in Bend now goes back to the state to be compiled, and the concerns addressed by OHA officials.
Other hearings are scheduled this month in Portland, Eugene and Medford. You can review the proposed rules and other details here: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/mmj/Pages/rules.aspx
Public comments on the rules are being accept until May 30.
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org