There are three specific defenses written into the OMMA for use by Cannabis-using patients. These legal strategies are each distinct. Patients and caregivers should study them and prepare for the day when they may be needed—before the officer knocks at the door. The three defenses are:
1. An "exception" from Oregon criminal laws forbidding
Cannabis; (the registry card program),
2. An "affirmative defense" to a charge of unlawful possession;
3. A "choice of evils"defense.
Patients and caregivers should clearly understand that OMMA DOES NOT provide any legal protection against federal laws that prohibit use and cultivation of Cannabis. Patients in many states are arrested and prosecuted under federal statutes. Federal prosecutors in Oregon have expressed no interest in locating and prosecuting patients who grow small amounts of Cannabis, but this posture could change at any time. Patients and caregivers should clearly understand this risk before deciding to participate in the Medical Marijuana Program.
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