A little-known and seldom-used part of Oregon's food stamp rules is allowing Oregonians to deduct their medical marijuana costs from their overall income when qualifying for food stamp benefits.
The Oregonian reports that the elderly or permanently disabled individuals may file for the deductions. Under Oregon's guidelines, the state allows some individuals to deduct medical expenses from their income. Along with such costs as prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, the state also includes medical marijuana in its definition of medical expenses. But the Oregon rules are contrary to California and Washington guidelines, which say the deduction is not allowed.
In March 2011, Citydesk visited the 45th Parallel, a medical marijuana dispensary in Ontario, Ore., which caters to some Idahoans even though clients know they can't legally bring the pot back to Idaho.
"We know of at least 500 Idaho clients that have bought property in Oregon...," the director of 45th Parallel told Citydesk. "They don't want to break the law, so this is going to be their new home. Idaho is losing residents, there's no doubt about it."
The Oregonian reports that employees and customers of the 45th Parallel were cheering Oregon's food stamp guidelines. One employee said that 60 percent of the dispensary's 800 patients who get medical marijuana also receive food stamps or are eligible for them.
"These aren't hippie kids coming to pick up some smoke," said Bill Ebensen. "These are sick people."