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Oregon Labor Commissioner Defends Medical Marijuana Patients

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brad avakian oregon medical marijuana program ommpBrad Avakian Has Been Fighting For Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights In Oregon Since The Beginning

It is a well known fact that medical marijuana patients are under attack now more than ever. From state agencies to the DEA, it would seem that no patient can truly say they have safe access. Although some politicians have started to come out in favor of medical and recreational marijuana reform, there are far too many patients living in fear of being kicked out of their homes, or losing their jobs because they use medical marijuana. Luckily, here in Oregon we have elected Brad Avakian as Labor Commissioner.  Mr. Avakian has been fighting for the rights of medical marijuana patients since the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) was passed in 1998.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Avakian at a fundraiser last week and was very impressed with what he had to say about defending the rights of patients here in Oregon. Below is a flier Oregonians for Law Reform created to support Avakian’s campaign. The quotes are from a copy of the statement he gave out that highlights his stance and history on defending patients from being discriminated against by landlords and employers. After all, that’s his job!

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian believes in protecting medical marijuana patients from unfair employment and housing discrimination.

Below is the full statement the labor commissioner handed out at the fundraiser last week explaining in detail his involvement in fights for the rights of medical marijuana patients here in Oregon.

Commissioner Avakian has always been a proud supporter of Oregon’s voter enacted Medical Marijuana Program. His record on the issue is demonstrates his commitment and support for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program:

In 2005, then-Representative Avakian voted in support of SB 1085, which modestly increased the amount of cannabis authorized patients could possess and authorized growers could produce.

As State Labor Commissioner, he stood up to protect cardholders’ rights on the job and workplace accommodations. Commissioner Avakian defended his agency’s ruling in BOLI vs. Emerald Steel all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court and, although the case was ultimately overturned, did not shy away from taking a stand to protect cardholders and disability accommodations. The Oregon Court of Appeals had previously upheld BOLI’s determination that Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. of Eugene violated Oregon
disability law by firing an employee without engaging in the “interactive process” to
determine a reasonable accommodation for that employee’s disability.

The day the Supreme Court ruling was announced, Commissioner Avakian issued this
statement:

“As Oregonians, we have always believed strongly in our ability to determine the right public policy within our own borders,” said Commissioner Brad Avakian, chief of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries which enforces disability law and other employment protections. “That makes today’s decision all the more troubling, because it so seriously undercuts the law that Oregonians put in place, by initiative petition, in
1998.”

It is unfortunate to have so many politicians fall between the cracks when it comes to enforcing laws that the voters of Oregon have enacted. When an elected representative stands up for the medical marijuana community, the community will stand up for them in the face of any negative rebuttal surrounding their endorsement of medical marijuana. If Brad Avakian ever gets any flack from his opposition regarding medical marijuana, you can bet dollars to donuts that the medical cannabis community will be there to defend him. Try telling someone dying from AIDS or HIV that they don’t deserve safe access to a medicine that works and see what happens.

Please visit Brad Avakian’s various social media outlets to keep up with his campaign.

http://www.bradavakian.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BradAvakianOregon

https://twitter.com/BradAvakian

Follow Sam on Twitter @SeriouslySamuel

Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition

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About Author

Sam Chapman has dedicated the last seven years of his life to leadership, activism, progressive legal reform, and social media. He has been a crucial member of the End Prohibition Again Campaign, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, as well as a strategic framer for Occupy Eugene. Beyond drug policy reform, Chapman has served as the Associated Students of the University of Oregon Campaign Manager, College Outreach Coordinator for the Measure 74 Campaign, and currently runs a social justice organization, the Interpretive Framing Group. Chapman’s expertise also includes his ability to develop diverse networks of people through the power of social media. Chapman seeks to challenge outdated status quos and policies through his public speaking, leadership, and social media skills.

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