Salem, OR — On Friday, a debate was held to wieght the merits of a potential medical marijuana dispensary system in Oregon. Oregon Measure 74 would establish a tax a regulate system for all facets of medical marijuana production, included allowing for private state silenced growers. I figured it was my duty to attend.
John Sajo, Executive Director of Voter Power and co-author of the measure, went up against H. Marc Adams, representing Oregon Association Of Chiefs of Police.
During opening statements, Chief Adams said the current system has been “highjacked by modern day bootleggers whose sole purpose is to make money. Marijuana is big business.” He continued to rail against the current bill with typical police scare tactics bringing up the current 1.5lb limit and talked about six foot tall marijuana bushes growing in people's back yard.” and “hydroponic marijuana factories” that apparently are all over.
There was some hope as he added “The Chiefs of Police are not apposed to marijuana being used to treat ill people,” however most of his comments were inaccurate and do not help his cause.
When Mr. Sajo took the podium, he talked about how the current law doesn't create a supply system and “expect sick and dying patients to produce their own medicine.” He continued to focus on the supply side issue stating, “no regulation, no inspection, no record keeping, no auditing, really this is out of control” and “it takes three of four months minimum and so when you really need it, you wouldn't be able to get.”
They had a question and answer session afterward when a local judge brought up the question of whether this would become an another unfunded mandate which has plagued Oregon over the years. Mr. Sajo then brought up the fact the written into the measure is a provision which states no money from the general fund shall be used to pay for it, which seemed to please the audience.
Also brought up was the fact that a legislative bill to legalize adult marijuana use is expected to be introduced in the coming months.
Overall, the audience was very receptive and I left with the impression that this measure has a great chance of passing. Not because it is a well written measure, but due to the fact that the opposition doesn't have enough valid counter points to convince the undecided voters not to pass this measure.