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Medford Chief Uses Public Funds to Fight Oregon's Medical Marijuana LawAllan Erickson Salem-News.com
Ignorance is a powerful weapon.
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen has some explaining to do. The chief used the city's Neighborhood Watch Nov., 2009 Bulletin (PDF) to go on a rant against medical cannabis (marijuana) and Oregon's OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program).
The chief is of course welcome to his opinion.
He is not welcome, of course, to use his city's resources to go on a rant based on opinion (and not fact) about an issue regarding citizens' health care. The chief says, "This commentary is not intended to debate the use of marijuana as a medicine."
He then follows that up with "[t]his is not about medicine, it is about profit."
It is an incredible stretch. We know that foreign cartels operate in our forests and wildlands. Nearly 1/4 million plants were seized last year in Oregon by law enforcement.
Some of these grow operations number in the thousands of plants. The growers destroy habitat, litter and pollute our precious wild waters with chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
These cartel grow operations exist, just as bootleggers' stills did during alcohol prohibition, because of Prohibition. It is the prohibition of cannabis that has driven the hardy plant's out of control black market production.
Cannabis is now our nation's # 1 agricultural commodity. Plant seizures in California number in the millions! The cartels are even using our precious and treasured National Parks for their illicit plantations.
I'm sorry Chief Schoen but it's Prohibition driving the desire for profit by criminals, not the OMMP. The OMMP represents our state's first baby steps in regulating cannabis.
The actual amount of abuse under the program is minuscule compared to the plunder of our forests and the profits from street sales funding criminal syndicates.
If Oregonians had a lick of sense they'd quit all the fuss-budgeting over medical cannabis. According to some we can assume about 10% of our population smokes cannabis at some point during a year - that makes nearly 400,000 Oregonian cannabis consumers.
How many industries would mind an in-state customer base of that size? Especially for a consumable where demand is steady... A very real question is "Why does capitalism work for everything but pot?" We face a choice in Oregon, and they'll be coming at us this fall on our ballots.
We can say to hell with the cartels and gain control of a massive industry worth millions of dollars a year in sales through regulation, or we can continue to grant the cartels free reign in our wild lands and all the profits.
There are options including non-profit dispensaries -- like I-28 -- that provide the growers and the whole of the production chain a chance to earn a legitimate wage and cover costs and provides patients a reliable, steady, approved and quality controlled source.
There may even be options for plain old legalization (which in truth would be re-legalization and the choice protecting the most Oregonians).
Chief Schoen overstepped his bounds here and he needs either to stop spreading rumor and mocking one of humanity's oldest agricultural staples and a safe and reliable (and ancient) medicine or he needs to provide proof of his claims in a public forum.
There are many in Oregon, several of whom live in or near Medford, who would love the opportunity to publicly debate the issue. But prohibitionists are hesitant to face us. Would Chief Schoen care to engage in such a debate?
The laws against cannabis are just so much barnyard manure. These laws are founded almost across the board on bigotry and xenophobia. It's a matter of history and it's all there for anyone interested to see. The escalation in the War On Pot came under Richard Nixon's administration because he hated hippies and didn't trust the Jews.
The science of cannabis is something different. Even when the government tried its damnedest to prove it was harmful they found instead it was a cancer fighter. (see : Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew In '74)
The government even own the patent to "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" Now it may just be me but I'd sure hate to be among those who have been an instrument in the suppressing of an effective anti-cancer agent for 35 years. Chief Schoen may not like cannabis, but he still doesn't get a voice in our health care. I don't call a cop when I have health issues and I don't call a doctor when I need police help.
And if I want cannabis, should I have to rely on the black market, knowing I'm funding a new generation of Al Capones? (Re-) Legalization is the answer. Prohibition is the problem. And Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen needs to stick to chasing bad guys and protect and serve his community. Spreading more Reefer Madness is so just not in his job description.
After receiving training as a photographer and photographic systems repairman in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War period, Allan Erickson went on to work behind the camera as a photojournalist (California Advocate, Fresno, CA), a commercial products table-top photographer (Gottschalks advertising, second camera behind Richard Eissler), and he has photographed weddings, anniversary celebrations, political meet-and-greets, concerts, baseball games (currently working for the Eugene Emeralds, the San Diego Padres' short season single A affiliate, as their team photographer), school events, kids' soccer, portraits and my favorite venue, nature.
More than anything, Allan Erickson cares about the health of Oregon and he works closely on drug policy issues as a member of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Send Allan an email at this address: email@example.com Visit Allan's blog as this link: morningdonut.blogspot.com
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