Medical marijuana patients and growers across the state are abandoning the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Long considered a source of Oregon’s black market, medical... Registered medical marijuana patients dropping fast in Oregon

Medical marijuana patients and growers across the state are abandoning the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

Long considered a source of Oregon’s black market, medical marijuana is fast falling victim to a combination of red tape and a different kind of market force: the convenience of recreational retail sales.

“Medical could officially have a gravestone,” said Kit Doyle, who formerly sold medical marijuana but switched to hemp products through his business, the Murphy Hemp Co.

The number of patients registered with the program is half of what it was a year ago. Statewide it dropped 41 percent, from 59,137 to 34,892.

The number of registered growers also dropped precipitously. Statewide it went from 23,175 to 13,959 — 40 percent.

Doyle and several industry watchers think the numbers will continue to go down, according to The Daily Courier.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Oregon since 1998, when voters created a system that allowed registered persons to grow their own marijuana — or obtain it from someone who grew it for them.

But even as the state Legislature took steps to allow dispensaries for medical marijuana, a sea change occurred in 2014 when voters legalized recreational marijuana allowing retail sales to anyone over 21 and setting up commercial production. [Read more at The Oregonian]

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