Alex Rogers, owner of Northwest Alternative Health & Ashland Alternative Health, and producer of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) and International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), has been helping lead the effort of patients and advocates in protecting the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program during this legislative session. It is a shame that legislators, assigned to implementing Measure 91, have wasted time trying to revamp the OMMP. I commend Alex for his efforts and disagree with legislators accusing patients of being mislead by folks making a bunch of money on the OMMP. The business interests seeking to add rules and regulations to the OMMP to fit their agenda should be looked at. By and large, the Oregon medical community would be satisfied with the OMMP remaining the same, especially until after we see Measure 91 implemented in 2016. From Marijuana Politics:
"It is simply galling that some members of the Oregon Legislature are attempting to simultaneously decrease the number of patient gardens and allow cities and counties to opt-out of licensed and regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, hurting patients' safe access to medicine across the state. Insultingly, some of these same politicians then question the motives of patients and advocates that simply want the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to remain intact until after Measure 91's licensed recreational market gets implemented towards the end of 2016. Shamefully, some politicians then don't consider the emotional impact upon patients suffering through chemotherapy and battling cancer, when they, without any proof, cast aspersions upon the entire program, declaring "that a lot of the people with medical marijuana cards don't actually have medical needs."
"State Senators Ginny Burdick and Jeff Kruse have decided to insult the intelligence of patients and advocates by claiming that opponents and critics of Senate Bill 844 are unduly influenced by financial interests or haven't taken the time to read the 89 or more pages that now make up SB 844 after more than 25 amendments have now been proposed. Conveniently, these Salem politicians ignore the financial interests of the big money business interest groups and lobbyists that have been seeking to dismantle the OMMP as we know it this entire legislative session. The OMMP was implemented after a very strong majority of Oregon voters during an off-year election way back in 1998 and the law has evolved rapidly recently with the implementation of state medical marijuana dispensaries and now legalization for all adults. Thankfully, we have some great legislators seeking a more "moderate steps" than Burdick and Kruse, standing up for sick and disabled patients, sensibly skeptical of any provisions that may hurt patients or go against the will of the voters.
"No Democrat like Ginny Burdick or Republican like Jeff Kruse campaigned on the need to restrict the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and patients' access to medicine. Despite much misinformation and really Reefer Madness propaganda, the OMMP is very popular with voters and more than 56% of voters just supported a legalization measure that mentions several times that the OMMP would not be impacted by the legalization measure.
"Unfortunately, some members of the Measure 91 Implementation Committee are ignoring the will of the voters and using a committee established due to the Measure 91 legalization measure to regulate the OMMP, without any proof that such regulations are needed. Due to the popularity of Measure 91 and the OMMP, many voters will likely take into account attacks upon patients' medicine and well-being. Attacking the OMMP and patients' safe access didn't go well for the well-financed Dwight Holton in his run for Oregon Attorney General and it may not play well in primaries and general elections for other candidates in races across the state, or even state-wide.
"Thank you Oregon patients and concerned citizens! I won't insult your intelligence like some law makers and accuse you of mindless following others. Unlike most legislators, you actually have real-world experience with the OMMP and know the importance of our hard-fought laws. I understand that it takes some courage and dedication to send an email to an elected official or give their office a call to speak your mind. You stand with patients and advocates that have waited long-enough for moratoriums of medical cannabis dispensaries to end. You stand for the most vulnerable among us, those battling severe and debilitating medical conditions, along with poverty. You made your voices heard with thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls and have really done all that you can to protect patients' safe access and the OMMP. It is now up to Oregon legislators to heed the will of the voters, implement Measure 91 to the text of the measure, and maintain the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program."
I sincerely thank Alex and everyone that has taken the time to contact the Oregon Legislature to protect the OMMP. Additional rules and regulations simply aren't necessary. Oregon politicians seem to have forgotten about Dwight Holton, but the Oregon cannabis community will certainly rally to defeat officials that hurt patients and go against the will of the voters, just as we did against Dwight Holton.