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Health Authority supports improvement to medical marijuana program

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Oregon Health Authority officials agree with state audit findings that the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) needs improvement to ensure grow sites comply with reporting requirements.

Health officials also accept changes Secretary of State auditors recommended at the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program to ensure cannabis testing labs meet national quality assurance standards.

Auditor findings for the OMMP were consistent with findings of an internal review OHA conducted last year and submitted to the Oregon Cannabis Commission in May 2018.

In a Jan. 25 response, OHA Director Patrick Allen said the agency agrees with the audit’s recommendations. Allen noted that some recommendations fall outside the scope of OHA’s statutory authority. Director Allen said, “OMMP needs changes in state law that give the program needed authority and reporting ability to comply with many of these recommendations.”

The May 2018 report, an internal review of the OMMP, identified administrative shortcomings that enabled growers, dispensaries and laboratories to operate without effective oversight. It also found that statutory restrictions limited the OMMP’s ability to answer information requests from local law enforcement officials, even as the program protects patient confidentiality.

The issues heightened the risk for medical marijuana to be diverted from patients, who rely on cannabis to treat medical conditions, into the black market. The report can be viewed at http://healthoregon.org/ommp.

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This information was provided for dissemination to our readers and was edited to comply with Associated Press style and professional journalism standards by Homepage staff.

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