Oregon's Medical Marijuana Industry, 20 Years Later

Almost twenty years after Oregon's medical marijuana program began, the industry is at a crossroads. OPB's Kristian Foden-Vencil explores what's happened over the past two decades and what is likely to come next for medical cannabis in Oregon. 


Oregon was a pioneer in voting to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

The medical pot law turns 20 next year, and its future grows a bit fuzzier now that marijuana is also legal for recreational use. 

Why get a prescription for a drug you can buy over-the-counter?  That's just one of several questions raised in a series of stories from our partners at Oregon Public Broadcasting. 

Medical Marijuana Sales In Oregon Plummeting As Recreational Sales Increase

Jun 13, 2017
Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Nicole Shaffer is a 25-year-old store receptionist. She’s been using medicinal pot for four years now.

“I use it mostly for kind of emotional stuff,” she said. “I probably … smoke about once a day at this point.”

But last month, Shaffer let her official Oregon medical marijuana card lapse. She said the annual $200 cost isn’t worth the savings she makes on medical versus recreational marijuana.

20 Years On, Oregon Still Imposes Strict Limits On Medical Claims For Marijuana

Jun 13, 2017
Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Tap “Health Benefits of Cannabis” into your search engine and you’re likely to see dozens of uses, including treating autism, regulating diabetes and slowing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

How Oregon Incorporates New Medical Marijuana Science

Jun 13, 2017
Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Last year, the Oregon Legislature assembled a task force to look into creating a cannabis research institute.

The facility would have been similar to ones in California and Colorado.

The goal was simple: to increase the state’s knowledge about what marijuana can and cannot do.

Oregon's Marijuana Startup Economy Booms As Medical Cannabis Industry Struggles

Jun 13, 2017
Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Imagine you’re starting your own marijuana farm.

First you get land and water rights. Then you’ve got to find the right strain of cannabis. That can involve as much luck as science.