Earlier this week I sent an e-mail exchange between one of The Weed Blog team members and an Oregon Representative about Oregon Senate Bill 844. Oregon SB 844 would drastically change the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program in a very negative way, and would surely lead some patients back to the black market, or force them to go without medicine altogether. Below is an excerpt of what Oregon Representative Jeff Kruse has to say about the bill in an e-mail that he sent to his constituents, which was sent to me by a reader named Nancy. And by the way Mr. Kruse, I fight against this bill because it is awful and because it hurts patients, not because I’m paid to do so, or because I make money from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (I have never made a dime off the OMMP):
The second bill is SB 844, which is the bill dealing with Oregon’s medical marijuana program. With the passage of Ballot Measure 91 a committee was formed to deal with the implementation of the legalization of marijuana. I am a member of that committee. It was decided by leadership that the first thing we should do was to clean up the medical program before taking on the recreational side, which was a good idea. Initially there were a couple of workgroups on parts of the issue, but the workgroups for the main part of the bill consisted of two Senators and two Representatives, all of them Democrats.
Last Friday the Republican members of the committee were given copies of the amended version of the bill (the -6 amendment), which was 89 pages long. It took me a couple of days to fully digest all of the provisions partially because, as with most complicated legislation, one has to look into references to other statutes. While there are several areas of the bill I would like to see changed, I think the majority of the bill was well done and I am hoping things like a local option can still be added. One of the provisions I like the most is the section on tracking. Currently there is a significant amount of pot in the medical program unaccounted for and we believe it is ending up in the black market and some people are getting very rich on this trade. One of our goals is to stop this activity.
Over this week I have received several hundred emails in opposition to the -6 amendment. What I am reasonably sure of is those sending the emails did not read the bill. These emails were generated by the people who have become millionaires in this program, primarily because accountability would dry up their revenue source. So they scared a whole lot of patients into thinking we were “going to take away their medicine” in an attempt to derail the bill. This is a good example of how the internet can be a very powerful tool and should also be a lesson that if you are getting all of your information from one source you can be misled.