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Group Educates Oregonians About Medical Marijuana Program at State CapitolAllan Erickson for Salem-News.com
There are over 30 bills in the Oregon legislature dealing with cannabis, most dealing with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP).
(SALEM, Ore.) - Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse (MAMA) held an event at the state capitol on Monday, April 13. The all-day presentation, "The Faces of the OMMP: We're the People in Your Neighborhood" featured a display of posters and educational material, and put faces on some of Oregon's patients who utilize cannabis as medicine.
Oregon has a large and dedicated (but occasionally prickly) population of cannabis/drug policy activists and organizations. MAMA sharply demonstrated that our politicians have fallen behind citizens in their understanding of the truth about cannabis.
MAMA (and other organizations) is working to protect patients and educate our state's citizen's on cannabis facts. Facts which, when known, lead to the conclusion that our laws against this plant (with many thousands of uses) are ludicrous, arbitrary and capricious.
There are over 30 bills in the Oregon legislature dealing with cannabis, most dealing with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). Many of these bills come from law enforcement, lobbying to curb the program which now serves nearly 25,000 Oregonians.
SB 388 comes from the Stormy Ray Cardholders' Foundation (SRCF) and is a bill strongly opposed by Oregon activists. It seems the only organization in the state that supports SB 388 is SRCF.
Patients have been overwhelmingly critical of its' provisions providing expanded powers to law enforcement regarding cannabis garden inspections, registration information and reducing garden sizes.
It is estimated that over 4500 OMMP registered patients would lose their access to a grower if the bill passes.
Are we that eager in order to mollify law enforcement to drive people back to the black market, away from people who now voluntarily grow cannabis? What do police have to do with medical decisions?
The claims by law enforcement about rampant abuse of the OMMA is not true. The real problem with cannabis in Oregon is the proliferation of huge illicit back-country grow operations run by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs, drug cartels).
Nearly 250,000 plants were seized by law enforcement in Oregon last year from these chemical laden pot farms. Grown primarily on remote federal or state lands, these grows often have thousands of plants in one location.
The SB 388 bill will be heard Monday (April 20) and activists have planned a significant presence in Salem to protest the bill and offer testimony to the legislature.
- The OMMP is moving Oregon towards regulation of cannabis and away from the black market, which profits only the criminals controlling it.
- The OMMP does not cost Oregon's citizens and taxpayers a dime.
- All fees are paid by enrollees and the program has put over a million dollars into state coffers.
Law enforcement has no stake in a patient's medical decisions. There are real crimes to investigate and gardening is hardly a criminal act.
Anti-pot nuts like Dan Harmon and the Associated Oregon Industries wish to allow employers to fire or not hire workers who are enrolled in the OMMP. At a time when jobs are at a premium as unemployment skyrockets, do we want to force more Oregonians onto food stamps and unemployment?
According to the latest Oregon Occupational Injury and Illness Survey, “Oregon workers employed in the private sector during calendar year 2007 suffered work-related injuries and illnesses at a rate of 5.1 for every 100 full-time employees, the lowest ever recorded.”
In an obvious correlation, ten years after Oregonians passed the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) we had the lowest workplace accident rate ever.
It is time for law enforcement to stay out of our medical decisions. It is time Oregon legislators get up to speed on the science of cannabis medicine. It is time legislators understand that they perpetuate Reefer Madness by following outdated beliefs that cannabis is a problem. It is time legislators understand that we are essentially broke and need to be expanding income generating (or self-funding) programs.
The OMMP provides Oregonians access to safe cannabis, grown by Oregonians and not violent foreign drug cartels.
Visit Oregon NORML's legislative webpage for current cannabis related bills. Or visit these OMMP supporting organizations for more information:
Our nation has finally begun a discussion on drug policy and cannabis legalization. Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program is one of the best among the 13 states now protecting (at least in small part) a patient's right to safely access cannabis.
If you are a supporter of cannabis, a patient who utilizes cannabis, or a citizen who supports our rights to liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness, you are encouraged to be at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, April 20 (4/20).
Allan Erickson is a Eugene based writer and photographer. He blogs at morningdonut.blogspot.com/
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