SALEM, Ore. - A bill giving the state authority to license and regulate medical marijuana facilities was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. John Kitzhaber.
Previously, patients have been required to grow the plants themselves or designate an individual to grow on their behalf.
Now, facilities will be allowed to serve the needs of medical marijuana license holders.
The Oregon Attorney General has established the Advisory Committee to Medical Marijuana Program to help assist in writing the rules and regulatory procedures that will govern dispensaries across Oregon.
Sources involved in the discussions said that there will be a large amount of paperwork involved for those running facilities to make the operations as transparent as possible.
Advocates of medical marijuana believe that the new law will make it safer for prescribed cardholders.
"A lot of people that can use medical marijuana just do not have safe access to it," said Brian Michaels, an attorney and member of the Advisory Committee to medical marijuana. "This not only benefits the health of sixty thousand citizens, benefits the civil rights of people to do what they need to do without having their door broken down or children taken, it also benefits Oregon financially."
The state hopes to have all the details ironed out by March 1, 2014, at which point licenses will distributed.
In the meantime, local police departments are trying to survey the situation, and determine how they might adapt to the change.
"Things change. Different things come into play, so we're kind of just in the grey area right now, where we're not sure where it's going to lead yet," said Capt. Richard Harrison with the Springfield Police Department.