Oregon is finally moving to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries.
The state was one of the first to allow the legal use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation and issued marijuana cards to 56,000 people, but the law currently requires patients to grow the bud themselves or have someone to grow it for them.
While dozens of dispensaries popped up around the state, none of them were explicitly authorized, leading to shutdowns on some areas.
Governor John Kitzhaber signed a bill on Wednesday giving the state authority to license stores selling marijuana. Kitzhaber said he has two main goals -- to ensure overall safety and to allow patients safe access. The law gives the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) power to develop rules, regulations and testing procedures. The OHA will also set fees for dispensaries that will fund the state oversight.
Oregon resident Jason Barber told KPTV, "I look forward to somebody regulating what's on (pot) and what's in (pot), because there isn't much (regulation), but on the other hand, I really look forward to the accessibility factor. I would love to be able to go anywhere and buy the same medicine for the same price."
An OHA representative said they will now start the process of making the rules, which will include gathering a group of stakeholders, including law enforcement, patients and growers.