Report Deems Oregon Medical Marijuana Patient Directory Successful

Portland, OR: The medical marijuana registry in Oregon registered 594 patients in its first year, and since May 1, 2000 another 474 patients have signed-up to receive a medical marijuana identification card. In order to legally qualify for Oregon's 1998 Medical Marijuana Act, patients must possess a doctor's recommendation and register with the Oregon Department of Human Services Health Division (ODHSHS) for a $150 fee (which in turn funds the program). "Oregon was the first to implement a statewide registration system for patients," said Martin Wasserman, M.D., administrator of the ODHSHS. "Our first-year review shows the system is working as it was intended. A substantial number of qualified patients and their physicians are using it, and only a very few inquiries from law enforcement officials regarding patients have occurred." According to a report released last week by the ODHSHS, during the medical marijuana program's first year (May 1, 1999 to April 30, 2000):

o Males accounted for 70 percent of the 594 patients who registered.

o The average age was 46, and patients ranged from 14 to 87 years old.

o Sixty-seven percent of patients used medical marijuana to control severe and chronic pain.

o Patients reside in 31 different counties.

o A total of 329 physicians provided the required medical documentation for the 594 patients. Since April 30, 2000 that number of doctors has increased to 438.

o Sixty percent of patients requested a registration card for their primary caregiver, the person who helps manage their well-being, and may help administer the medical marijuana.

"We are pleased the patient registry appears to be working well in Oregon," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director. "Any system that permits patients to avoid arrest is clearly a step forward." For more information, please contact:

Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500 or

Bonnie Widerburg of the Oregon Department of Human Services at (503) 731-4180.


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