Oregon loves medical marijuana

Staypuff Organics opens in Rainier, Oregon

Staypuff Organics opened in Rainier, Oregon.  The medical marijuana dispensary was opened by the Neveau family and is located at 113 1st St. E. Before the opening of Staypuff Organics, patients had to travel to Salem or Aloha to get […]

Recent Oregon Marijuana News Headlines and Articles

Staypuff Organics opens in Rainier, Oregon

Staypuff Organics opened in Rainier, Oregon.  The medical marijuana dispensary was opened by the Neveau family and is located at 113 1st St. E. Before the opening of Staypuff Organics, patients had to travel to Salem or Aloha to get medicine.

For a $20 an annual fee, Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders can purchase various marijuana strains and food products infused with cannabinoids, the psychoactive chemical compounds in marijuana. According to Oregon law, the dispensary cannot profit from selling the drug.

Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole worries that the marijuana dispensary will operate with lax regulation, even though there has yet to be any negative issues with dispensaries operating in other small cities, such as the one that opened in Ontario. In fact when he heard about the plans to open the dispensary, he looked for ways to ban it, but found none. The Portland Tribune quoted him saying “I’m not too crazy about it opening up, I hope people realize that our hands are tied.”

The Neveau family want to make a safe, comfortable place for their members and they don’t want to be targeted by thieves so no drugs will be kept after hours in the shop and no smoking or ingesting marijuana will be allowed on the premises. In addition there will be multiple security cameras throughout the dispensary. The largest crime deterrent of course is the Rainier police station that sits right across Highway 30 from the store.

Currently there are over 47,000 patients in the Oregon state program.

By Eddie Haskill, ORmmj.com

45 marijuana plants, 5 pit bulls and an alligator seized

The Westside Interagency Narcotics team (WIN) announced this morning that at about 5:00 a.m., multiple law enforcement organizations simultaneously served 10 search warrants in the State of Oregon and one in the State of Colorado in a multi-agency investigation into multiple businesses and individuals engaged in a racketeering scheme.

Authorities found a medical marijuana grow at one of the search warrant locations. The grow was in compliance with Oregon law, however investigators found evidence that the operator, Robert E. Baylor III, was distributing the marijuana illegally. Investigators seized 45 marijuana plants from the grow operation, along with five pit bulls and a four foot alligator.

One of the other search warrants was served at Aloha Indoor Hydroponic Garden & Lights store, Mr. Baylor’s business. The store is located at 5990 SW 185th Ave, Suite F&G in Aloha, Oregon.

The total number and types of evidence seized has not been released at this time and investigation details have not been made public. Robert Baylor is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

By Keisha “Queenie” Jenkins, ORmmj.com

Bill to Limit Patient and Grower Possession in OR Hits Snag

A bill that would cut the amount of medical marijuana patients and growers can have on hand, give police greater access to confidential lists of cardholders, and make it harder for minors to use the drug hit a snag.

The bill failed to make it through the normal committee process on the Senate side before this Thursday’s deadline. The bill will now go to the House Rules Committee, where bills have later deadlines for sending bills to the floor.

Olson and two other former state police in the Legislature: Rep. Wayne Krieger and Rep. Jeff Barker, argue that patients, growers and caregivers are abusing the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 1998.

“I want to go back to the intent of what voters wanted to do in 1998 and move that forward,” said Olson, a retired state police lieutenant. “Right now, I believe it is out of control.”

Marijuana advocates see no reason to make it harder for minors to get medicine that adults can have.

“The marijuana genie is out of the bottle,” said Bob Wolfe of the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative. “We have got to stop trying to build a stronger bottle. It will not work. There is no political will, no social mandate, and no budget to wipe out medical marijuana in Oregon.”

There are more than 38,000 medical marijuana patients in Oregon. Patients are limited to six mature plants and a pound and a half of processed cannabis at one time. A bill was turned down last year that would have allowed cardholders to buy marijuana from dispensaries.

By Eddie Haskill – ORmmj.com

Medical Marijuana Patient Names in Oregon May Remain Confidential

Currently all medical marijuana patient names are confidential. Currently there is a bill working its way through the State Legislature that if made law, would give police access to medical marijuana patient names in Oregon and breach patient confidentiality. The bill is sponsored by Republican State representative Andy Olson and two other former state police troopers who now serve in the Legislature, and is aimed at keeping medical marijuana out of the hands of teenagers.

However, the bill hit a snag in the committee process. Aparently it did not make it our of the normal committee process in the Senate in time and will now head to the House Rules Committee. Senate Judiciary Chairman Floyd Prozanski said the proposal has not had the kind of public discussion needed to move forward in the legislature.

By Eddie Haskill – Copyright ORmmj.com

The City of Springfield Settles; Agrees to Pay Marijuana Patient $7,500

The city of Springfield agreed to pay $7,500 to settle with a man that police ticketed for carrying medical marijuana into the Springfield Justice Center.

A Springfield Municipal Court judge dismissed the citation after McClain vowed to dispute the charge at a trial. McClain received a doctor’s recommendation to use the drug after he injured his back in a traffic accident and has state approval to use medical marijuana.

By settling the case, Paul McClain gave up his right to file a lawsuit accusing Springfield police of violating his civil rights. It also allows the city to deny any alleged wrongdoing in the February 2010 incident.

“It was solely done to avoid litigation costs, and the city has no admission of wrongdoing,” Laudati said.

McClain, who lives in Springfield, filed a tort claim notice with the city last August stating the City “failed to provide fair warning that possessing marijuana in a public place is unlawful.”

McClain’s allegations were based upon a February 11, 2010 incident. Two police officers stopped and issued him a ticket for possessing marijuana in a public place, even after confirming McClain’s status as a state-registered medical marijuana patient.

As of January 2011, over 38,000 people in Oregon hold state-issued cards allowing them to use medical marijuana as patients.

By Eddie Haskill – © ORmmj.com

If marijuana is medicine, treat it that way; if it isn’t, then figure out what it is

Oregonians have consistently signaled their acceptance of marijuana as a medicine that can alleviate the symptoms of everything from chemotherapy-induced nausea to severe back pain.

And regardless of voter insistence on this point, the medical case study regarding marijuana and its effectiveness as a medicine to ease the symptoms of certain ailments is irrefutable. Who in their right mind, for instance, would deny a person suffering from cancer access to marijuana if it would ease that person’s suffering?

Yet, the methods by which Oregonians with physician-approved medical marijuana cards have historically been able to get their hands on medicinal marijuana are unreliable, unstable and of questionable legitimacy, and too often closely mimic marijuana culture associated with the illicit use of the plant as a recreational drug.

Whether or not a dispensary system is the best system for the medicinal delivery of marijuana to appropriate patients is debatable. There are other models out there, especially in places such as Colorado or California.

Unlike those programs, which are evolving into the standard for medicinal marijuana delivery, Oregon’s program is designed to stifle profit. If, in fact, we can concede that marijuana use as it applies to certain patients does qualify as medicine – and we know that many people do not accept that – than the notion such medicine must be manufactured and delivered without a profit motive does not make sense. If it did, then big pharmaceutical firms such as Bayer Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Proctor and Gamble should reorganize as nonprofit agencies or face business sanctions.

Which raises a legitimate question about state regulation of medicinal marijuana distribution. It seems to be a one-foot-in, one-foot-out approach. Ultimately, it acts as a disservice to those who truly need marijuana as a medicine

That must change.

There are several reasons why the marijuana-as-medicine philosophy has only marginally caught on with middle America. First, anti-drug campaigns intended to demonize marijuana have been successful on some fronts, so the process of changing the impression of marijuana from that of a dangerous drug to a beneficial medicine is going to take some time.

Secondly, and most importantly, the burgeoning industry of medicinal marijuana is being – or already has been – hijacked by those who obviously were deeply immersed in the culture of illicit marijuana use. Some of the state’s leading voices on medical marijuana dispensaries promote their services through websites and pamphlets that look like they were cooked up in a Portland drug paraphernalia shop.

It’s a system that favors those who use dopey monikers such as “Stoney Girl” and “Portlandsterdam,” who attempt to develop quality standards for marijuana that likely make more sense to a college-age hippie than middle-aged cancer patient.

What clientele, really, are they attempting to attract?

Medical marijuana users in Oregon fight for gun rights

Cynthia Willis calls up and down the firing range to be sure everyone knows she is shooting, squares up in a two-handed stance with her Walther P-22 automatic pistol and fires off a clip in rapid succession.

Willis is not only packing a concealed handgun permit in her wallet, she also has a medical marijuana card. That combination has led the local sheriff to try to take her gun permit away.

She is part of what is considered the first major court case in the country to consider whether guns and marijuana can legally mix. The sheriffs of Washington and Jackson counties say no. But Willis and three co-plaintiffs have won in state court twice, with the state’s rights to regulate concealed weapons trumping federal gun control law in each decision.

With briefs filed and arguments made, they are now waiting for the Oregon Supreme Court to rule.

When it’s over, the diminutive 54-year-old plans to still be eating marijuana cookies to deal with her arthritis pain and muscle spasms, and carrying her pistol.

“Under the medical marijuana law, I am supposed to be treated as any other citizen in this state,” she said. “If people don’t stand up for their little rights, all their big rights will be gone.”

A retired school bus driver, Willis volunteers at a Medford smoke shop that helps medical marijuana patients find growers, and teaches how to get the most medical benefit out of the pound-and-a-half of pot that card carriers are allowed to possess. She believes that her marijuana oils, cookies and joints should be treated no differently than any other prescribed medicines. She said she doesn’t use them when she plans to drive, or carry her gun.

“That’s as stupid as mixing alcohol and weapons,”‘ she said.

Oregon sheriffs are not happy about the state’s medical marijuana law.

“The whole medical marijuana issue is a concern to sheriffs across the country who are involved in it mainly because there is so much potential for abuse or for misuse and as a cover for organized criminal activity,” said Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon, who became part of the Willis case because his office turned down three medical marijuana patients in the Portland suburbs for concealed handgun permits. “You can’t argue that people aren’t misusing that statute in Oregon.

“Not everybody, of course. Some have real medical reasons. But …the larger group happens be people who are very clearly abusing it.”

The sheriffs argue that the 1968 U.S. Gun Control Act prohibits selling firearms to drug addicts, and they say that includes medical marijuana card holders. Their briefs state that they cannot give a permit to carry a gun to someone prohibited from buying or owning a gun.

But the cardholders have won so far arguing this is one situation where federal law does not trump state law, because the concealed handgun license just gives a person a legal defense if they are arrested, not a right.

Oregon’s attorney general has sided with the marijuana cardholders, arguing that the concealed handgun license cannot be used to buy a gun, so sheriffs who issue one to a marijuana card holder are not in violation of the federal law.

Willis’ lawyer, Leland Berger, says it is much simpler.

The sheriffs “are opposed to the medical marijuana act,” Berger said from Portland. “It’s not based on reason. That’s how they are.”

Rural southern Oregon is awash with marijuana — legal and illegal. Arrests for illegal plantations are commonplace. The region’s six counties also have the highest rate of medical marijuana use in the state. There are also a lot of guns in the Rogue Valley, where Willis lives.

Sixteen states now have medical marijuana laws, according to NORML, an advocacy group. There is no way to determine how many medical marijuana cardholders also have gun permits. Patient lists are confidential, and an Oregon court ruled the sheriffs can’t look at them.

NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre said Oregon courts have not been entirely medical marijuana friendly. While they have upheld the right to pack a pistol, they have also ruled that employers can fire people who use medical marijuana.

“A person who uses medical cannabis should not have to give up their fundamental rights as enumerated by the Constitution,”‘ St. Pierre said.

Gordon said he expects the gun issue to come up in other states with medical marijuana laws.

Oregon was the first state in the country to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with legislation enacted in 1973. And it was right behind California in making medical marijuana legal when voters approved a ballot measure in 1998. But voters here stopped short of following California all the way to selling medical marijuana to cardholders at dispensaries. A ballot measure failed last year, so patients still have to grow their own or get someone else to grow it for them at cost, with no profit margin.

Oregon is one of 37 states where the sheriff has to give a concealed handgun permit to anyone meeting the list of criteria, though they have some discretion to say what those criteria are. They generally require people to be 21, a U.S. citizen, pass a gun safety course, and have no criminal record or history of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or domestic violence.

The issue doesn’t really come up in California, where concealed handgun licenses are much harder to get.

If Willis loses, she plans to carry her pistol out in the open, in a holster on her hip, which is, under Oregon law, perfectly legal.

“I’ve been done harm in my life and it won’t ever happen again,”‘ she said about her reasons for wanting the gun. “I’ve never had to draw it”‘

Proposal to restrict Oregon medical marijuana use gets trashed in hearing

Legislators got an earful Wednesday from medical marijuana advocates who condemned a proposal to greatly restrict who can legally use the drug to combat illnesses.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that the issue has come up, as some lawmakers have made it clear they think too many people are scamming the law that allows use of cannabis to treat some diseases and symptoms.

“I personally think the program is out of control,” said Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, sponsor of one of the bills targeting the growth of medical marijuana use. “I know people who just find it a legal way to smoke pot.”

Opponents called his proposal “heartless” and said it would subject cancer patients and other sick people who rely on marijuana to arrest and imprisonment.

To take away an effective medical treatment “is simply a cruel task, a cruel thing to do that will only harm someone battling cancer,” said Anthony Johnson, spokesman for a coalition of groups that support medical marijuana.

Kruse’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 777, strikes several general illnesses from the list of those for which cannabis can be legally used, including cancer, severe pain, severe nausea and seizures. It replaces them with more specific conditions, such as nausea resulting from chemotherapy treatment for cancer, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.

Kruse said he came up with the list after asking a number of doctors what kind of conditions marijuana is effective against. He said he hears from law enforcement, particularly in southern Oregon, that marijuana use is rampant, partly because of its legal use for medical reasons.

After listening to nearly an hour of testimony against his bill, Kruse said he’s willing to be “flexible” and make some changes. He also acknowledged that his bill may not make it far in the Democratically controlled Senate.

However, he said he expects some changes to the law to come out of the Legislature this year. A work group already has formed to look at ways to prevent abuses of the 1998 voter-approved measure that legalized use of marijuana for medical reasons.

Interest in changing the law intensified after a measure that would have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries was defeated by Oregon voters last November.

“Sometimes you just need to begin the discussion,” Kruse said.

Wednesday’s discussion went heavily and vehemently against the changes outlined in the bill.

“It will create criminals out of currently law abiding citizens,” said Sarah Duff, of Portland, who works for a patient advocacy group. Duff listed a number of cases, including her mother’s cancer, that no longer would qualify for marijuana treatment.

About 40,000 Oregonians have medical marijuana cards, a number Kruse and some others at the Legislature think is too high. Advocates of medical marijuana say that number should be expanded as more studies show its beneficial uses.

“It’s completely heartless to exclude cancer from the list,” said Leland Berger, a Portland lawyer who represents patients and providers. “Either you think marijuana is medicine or you don’t.”

Last month, a House bill to put more limits into the law met with similar opposition, and the bill was tabled. A group called the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative has organized to fight any other proposals if they come up at the Legislature, said spokesman Robert Wolfe, of Eugene.

“We’re going to show up in force at every hearing,” Wolfe said.
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