As Prop. 29 vote looms, dialysis patients brace for change
Molly Huddle, left, the president of Oregon Health & Science, is joined by Steve Tausich at a news conference to urge Oregon voters to approve medical marijuana ballot initiative in Portland on April 10, 2012. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
By Associated Press
Published: August 23, 2014
Updated: August 23, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.
Molly Huddle, the president of the Oregon Health & Science University, looks out over her lab at the corner of NE Fifth Avenue and Alder St. in downtown Portland. (Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP)
Molly Huddle, left, the president of Oregon Health & Science University, looks out over her lab at the corner of NE Fifth Avenue and Alder St. in downtown Portland. (Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP)
PORTLAND, Ore. — The clock is ticking at the Oregon Health & Science University as patients of kidney and liver diseases rally for a ballot initiative that would allow them to treat their illness with marijuana, the state’s first such sale.
Opponents say the initiative would allow doctors to prescribe a drug that comes with a risk of abuse or dependence, and voters need to weigh that carefully before adding a class of medical users to a list of people who have been allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana.
“There is a legitimate, medical need to have access to medicines that can be prescribed,” said Molly Huddle, the president of the Portland-based university, which is one of several in Oregon that’s working to put the initiative on the ballot in November.
Health officials say they’re working diligently to make sure the medical marijuana initiative is ready to go on a ballot in Oregon, but first they need to get final word from the Attorney General’s Office. That’s how they’re preparing for a Sept. 8 deadline for the voter approval of the proposal.
If approved, Oregon will join eight other states with medical marijuana programs. Federal officials have not weighed in on the legality of the measures, a move that has left patients without a way to treat their conditions, and medical marijuana advocates have been watching closely to see how the issue goes in Oregon before making a decision about a national expansion.
Here are some key facts about Oregon’s proposal:
What would be allowed?