The following is an article written by the Oregonian Editorial Board urging the public to vote no on Measure 74. If passed, Measure 74 would provide safe access to patients through nonprofit dispensaries, fund medical research and establish a program to assist low-income and homebound patients. It would create new jobs for Oregonians and generate millions of dollars for the state. It would appear, though, that The Oregonian just recently had an office movie party where everyone watched ‘Reefer Madness’ 3 times in a row. Here’s the article:
If the main impact of Measure 74 was to improve the access of very sick people to medical marijuana, Oregon voters could support the initiative with enthusiasm.
But Measure 74 goes far beyond sick people, and far beyond medicine. It would provide legal immunity to drug dealers and allow unlimited dispensaries throughout Oregon. It would legalize marijuana possession for more people who are not sick and create a special program to provide low-income people with a steady drug supply.
Voters should reject this measure. Many sick and law-abiding people would surely benefit from better access to medical marijuana, but Measure 74 is not the way to do it.
Oregon voters legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1998. Current law allows people to use marijuana if they have a doctor’s recommendation to do so. They are allowed to grow the marijuana themselves or designate someone to grow it for them. The law is not stingy: Patients can possess a pound and a half of medical marijuana and six mature marijuana plants. Growers can possess four times that amount.
Measure 74 would require the state to give licenses to people who want to open nonprofit dispensaries, complete with employees and directors. These dispensaries would sell marijuana to people with medical marijuana cards. That sounds reasonable enough, except for the fine print:
* All employees and directors of the dispensaries would be immune from criminal prosecution for most marijuana-related crimes if they are in “substantial compliance” with medical marijuana laws. This provision creates an astounding legal shield for people who use medical marijuana as a front for illegal activity. Prosecutors and law enforcement say if the measure passed, drug laws would be practically unenforceable.
* Employees and directors don’t have to be law-abiding Oregon citizens. They can be drug dealers moving from other states to a place where the grass is greener, and they can be convicted violent felons recently released from Oregon prisons. It wouldn’t take many criminals to taint the dispensary system as a criminal enterprise.
* Dispensaries can’t be within a residential neighborhood or within 1,000 feet of a school, but there are no other restrictions on their location and no cap on their total number: It would be perfectly legal, for example, to have 10 dispensaries across the street from houses and less than a quarter-mile from a high school.
Cities in Colorado and California with restrictions this loose have found themselves overwhelmed with more dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops.
* The measure contains no requirements to improve the safety, quality or labeling of medical marijuana. It only says the state “may” fund research to do so. However, the measure does strictly require the state to develop and fund a program to provide low-income cardholders with a steady supply of marijuana. Based on the demographics of demand, it’s easy to imagine how this assistance program could siphon every available dime from research.
The activists who wrote the measure agree there are details to be worked out. They say voters should trust the state to write administrative rules that will address the public’s concerns. They say Oregon can learn from problems in other states.
But mostly, the proponents don’t talk about problems, and they certainly don’t talk about the lack of standards for labeling or quality control. They talk about how great dispensaries will be. They talk about the jobs that will be created. They talk about the millions that will be generated by program taxes and fees. And they talk about the sick and suffering people who would benefit from medical marijuana but don’t know where to get it, how to grow it or where to turn.
We agree that state and federal laws governing medical marijuana are contradictory and collectively nonsensical. We also agree that many sick people in Oregon might be better off if marijuana was de-politicized as a medicine and treated more like morphine or other prescribed, highly regulated drugs.
Measure 74 isn’t a solution to those problems. It’s just a legalization measure with more protections for criminals than for patients.
Classic prohibition scare tactics. Classic disinformation. Classic bullshit. VOTE YES ON MEASURE 74!