The exception from criminal laws regarding Cannabis is a legalistic way of saying that those patients who participate in the "registry card program" are not subject to the regular laws regarding Cannabis in Oregon. It offers these patients a defense from prosecution and is the foundation for the Oregon Health Division's Medical Marijuana Program. The exception permits the use, possession, cultivation and transport of Cannabis and plants to persons who are registered in Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program. (Chapter 1 details the application procedure patients should follow to enter this program.) Registration is the preferable choice for most patients. Once registered patients are issued documentation by the Division, which certifies that they are permitted to use Cannabis. Police prefer this program because it quickly establishes the patient's protected status and it is backed by an official state agency, the Oregon Health Division.
Patients who are registered with the Medical Marijuana Program also have the legal protection of assigning caregiver responsibilities to another person, who is also registered with the Division. This "designated primary caregiver" may cultivate and transport Cannabis for the patient's benefit.
Patients and caregivers enrolled in the Medical Marijuana Program should also clearly understand what they are NOT permitted to do. Neither party can sell Cannabis or divert it to others for non-medical use. A caregiver cannot use Cannabis unless registered as a patient as well. Quantity limits are also written into the law. A patient or caregiver may grow a total of seven (7) plants. 3
Up to three flowering plants are permitted at one time. The person cultivating the plants is allowed to possess up to one ounce of usable (dried and cured) Cannabis for each flowering plant, not to exceed 3 ounces. If the garden has two flowering plants the grower is allowed two ounces. The patient who is not cultivating is allowed to possess up to one ounce of usable Cannabis.
If patients are engaged in activity that is prohibited, like using Cannabis in a car or in public, they are breaking the law and may be prosecuted or lose their registry card. Patients and caregivers should also keep multiple copies of important papers in a safe place in case of contact with law-enforcement. They should carry the plastic laminated wallet card any time Cannabis or plants are transported. Patients should also be aware that a pending application to the program carries the same legal protection as a registry identification card. Once the application is post-marked the applicant is covered, until (and if) the application is rejected. Keeping copies of the application papers, including the physician recommendation, close at hand can save problems. Also, the pending application does not protect the designated primary caregiver, only the patient.
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