Editorial: Don't pass pot bill without changes

Oregon has about 150 medical marijuana facilities that operate without clear laws and rules to regulate them. House Bill 3460 aims to fix that. But the version of the bill passed by the Oregon House needs to be amended.

In Oregon, doctors can legally prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. Patients can grow the marijuana themselves or find someone else to grow it for them.

The intent of the bill is to ensure that qualified patients can get legal access to the drug if they can’t grow their own. It sets up rules for the businesses that are trying to fill the void.

The businesses can’t be within 1,000 feet of primary and secondary schools.

They have to have alarm and security systems.

A person responsible for the business can’t have committed certain felonies in Oregon.

The Oregon Health Authority may also inspect the business at any reasonable time to ensure it is obeying the law. And there’s more.

It’s a good framework. But the Oregon District Attorneys Association has pointed out significant flaws.

The bill does nothing to prohibit someone who committed felonies in another state from operating a facility in Oregon. The language of the bill also suggests that before the law would go into effect in 2014, existing facilities would be entitled to some protection from criminal liability.

Both those issues should be corrected.

There’s been suspicion and anecdotes that Oregon’s medical marijuana program is being abused by recreational drug users. The bill in its current form sets it up for clear abuse.

Geoff Sugerman, a medical marijuana advocate who helped draft the bill, told The Oregonian the trouble is that time is running out in this session.

“We are more than willing to work with them on the issues they are bringing forward,” said Sugerman. “The challenge we face right now is we are at the tail end of the session.”

Sorry, no. That’s not a good excuse to let this bill go through as is.