What is a PRGS? (Person Responsible for the Grow Site)
|I am compassionate, dedicated and giving. I will live up to the responsibilities of a PRGS|
|I have made room in my house and my life for you.|
|I am taking all the risks and defending your rights.|
|I am the one who faces inspections, attacks, and responsible for your compliance.|
|I am the Security who diligently and daily guards your medicine. I do this at the risk of my life.|
|I am the eternal gardener who watches over your garden every day and every night.|
|I am the labor, the supplier, the distributor, the gatherer, the processor, the one who spends no less than 20 hours a week, all for love.|
|I am the one who came up with the hundreds of dollars to invest.|
|I am the one who pays all the bills and costs when you can’t.|
|I am the one you trust and know as the provider of your medicine.|
|I am the one who bears much responsibility to you, for you.|
|I am the one who gladly makes this commitment.|
|I will grow and provide you the best medicine that I can.|
|I am the one who may someday be called a pioneer.|
I am only a PRGS. I am not a Patient. I have few rights because the intent of the original law was to have a personal relationship with my patient (usually a close friend or loved one). The issue is that there are more patients than PRGs. This has given birth to new issues, many which are addressed by the dispensary initiative.
This has been a longstanding problem from my point of view. I have many stories to tell. Fortunately as of January 1, 2008 the amended rules went into affect to assist in proper notifications to the PRGS. Unfortunately there are a few who may be able to skirt the new rules for a short period while they are going into effect. This will catch up shortly.
New rules call for returning of cards within a 7 day period when a patient changes care givers or PRGS’s. There is notification from DHS sent to the PRGS to return the card thus giving official notification of any changes. As well the PRGS should initially get the card direct, instead of from the patient.
This goes a long way but does not solve all of the issues.
Previously a patient could change PRGS by simply faxing in a change on the form. This allowed some problems:
A patent could change PRGS without the PRGS knowledge. This puts the PRGS out of compliance and at risk for arrest. I have had some patients attempt to “Double Dip” by having one PRGS sign up, then changing to a new PRGS without notifying the first PRGS. The new rules will close this loop.
Another issue is that the PRGS cannot officially remove a patient from the garden. In cases where a PGRS may grow for more than one individual, there may be times where a patient may need to be removed. Some of these situations may be due to intrusive or destructive actions, breakdowns in relationships, or inappropriate behavior such as suspicion of illegal activities. In such cases the PRGS cannot remove their name from the patients’ records without the patients’ permission. I have dealt with these types of situations and even taken a notarized copy of my own statement to DHS (although I do not know if it did any good, other than cover my ass if I had to). I came extremely close to having to when the patient was busted cheating.
I have had patients show up at my door with guns, had my phone lines cut and masked men barge in, chainsaws to the side of buildings, and much more. When doing a grow one must remember that the grow is as valuable as the Bank Vault and there will be attempts if the grow is not secured or well removed and unknown. Even then there is a risk. It is difficult to keep the grow secretive from the patient, although in some cases this may be preferred by the PRGS. It is from this experience that we use grower/patient contracts with new patients.
I recommend only working with folks you know well and are intimate with if you do not use a contract. This is not a good attitude I admit, but it does afford me the desired level of protection, risk and hassle. In order to encourage me to grow for others, I would want something in place to make things perfectly clear. I once had a patient that was a Doctor. He took me to a warehouse he rented to store all the Kilos I was going to grow for him. Our relationship ended there as he had expectations that were unreal (and illegal).
Previously there have been no provisions for the rights of a PRGS, and this is still the case. Considering that the PRGS bears all of the risks, costs and background checks, there needs to be a more clear process. Until that time the PRGS should take upon themselves to develop practices that can be developed into standards. Perhaps one of these practices is to develop wording for a contract between the patient and PRGS.
There needs to be more PRGS available to patients. I believe they are out there but are encumbered by the lack of a clear path. Perhaps creating a standard contract would induce some of these fine gardeners to assist until we can get the process changed.
One of our other issues is the fact that we are limited to Federal numbers. This prohibits good communal gardens as I had first pictured in my mind when OMMA was introduced. It is unfortunate that the State of Oregon will not defend our true needs against the federal bullies. This is an area I think will have to be addressed at some point, even for a good dispensary initiative to eventually work in practice as opposed to theory.
It is too often I hear of Patients complaining about the PRG. This usually stems from the Patient not having the knowledge of how to grow and expecting more than can be done, with the all American GIMME attitude that it is owed simply because someone shows compassion. If patients were more involved in their own grow this would be less of a problem. Most patients do not have (or are not able) the desire to be in the garden. Communal Grow Spaces were always in my mind for this solution. WAMM has a great model, however this model does not work with our program, simply because of the Feds, and the States’ position not to stand up for our rights.