Since the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act was passed by a majority of voters, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) has grown leaps and bounds, protecting the medical cannabis use of thousands of patients and generating millions of dollars for the state of Oregon. Anyone following the Oregon political scene is aware that the state’s medical law became a major issue in a recent Democratic Attorney General race, where Ellen Rosenblum won a convincing victory over Dwight Holton, a former US Attorney that led a federal crackdown against state resource centers.
As the need to provide medicine to over 50,000 medical marijuana patients grew, medical cannabis resource centers have been established across the state. Not only have these centers provided medicine to thousands of patients, they have also provided jobs and tax revenue for the state. Raids by various law enforcement agencies have shut down these safe access points, depriving patients of medicine and the local economy of these jobs. Anyone familiar with Oregon, knows that the economy is sputtering and that good-paying jobs are a valuable resource in these parts.
The latest raid occurred this morning at the Human Collective, a patient resource center thought to be following the guidelines of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. The raid occurred in Washington County, near Portland, geographically, but not politically. Multnomah County, where Portland resides, has not seen the raids that have plagued the rest of the counties in Oregon. Washington County has a history of being antagonistic toward the state’s medical marijuana program, raiding several resource centers and funding a lawsuit that attempted to deny the Second Amendment rights of medical marijuana patients.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum recently toured the Human Collective and received a $4,200 donation from James Bowman, proprietor of High Hopes Farm, a medical cannabis farm in Southern Oregon that provided medicine to many patients across the state. ”It makes a huge difference for me to see the collective and to see the way you are responsibly applying the law,” Rosenblum told an approving crowd while at the Human Collective, according to The Oregonian. These raids will certainly put Attorney General Rosenblum to the test as she is somewhat caught in the political crossfire between patients, law enforcement, the state and the federal government. Hopefully, Rosenblum will be able to help convince state law enforcement to concentrate our limited resources on serious and violent crime.
Hopefully, Washington County residents, and residents across Oregon, will pressure their law enforcement officials to adopt policies put into place by Multnomah County’s District Attorney and the Portland Police Chief. In 2010, there were 3,866 crimes against persons in Washington County, with 2,133 arrests, leaving 45% of the crimes unpunished by law enforcement. Shockingly, of the 737 reported sex crimes, less than 25% of the cases resulted in an arrest. There were over 17,000 crimes against property reported in 2010, but only 3,924 arrests, a 22% arrest rate. Surely, Washington County folks would prefer their law enforcement resources to be utilized fighting crimes against people and property than preventing patients from safely accessing medical cannabis from their local resource center. (Hat tip to Russ Belville for pointing out these statistics during his show yesterday.)
Citizens simply need to ask themselves, “Do I want my local police raiding medical marijuana dispensaries or do I would I rather have them investigating the 45% of violent crimes, including the 75% of sex crimes, that go unpunished?”
While law enforcement officials are allowed to profit off of medial marijuana raids, they are slowly but surely helping us end cannabis prohibition. These raids only strengthen the resolve of activists and, as citizens become educated on the costs of prohibition, an even bigger majority will demand an end to this failed and harmful policy.
Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition