By ANTHONY JOHNSON
It is clear that Chief Marc Adams is more opposed to medical marijuana in general than he is against Measure 74 (Op-Ed page, Keizertimes, Sept. 24). It is apparent, that many law enforcement officers would prefer to go back in time to when cancer patients suffered through chemotherapy or patients using cannabis instead of addictive opiates could be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. Thank God, however, that Oregonians are more compassionate than Chief Adams and Sheriff Tom Bergin (who proposed an initiative that would have criminalized medical marijuana patients.).
Measure 74 will provide patients with a nontoxic natural medicine, recommended by their doctor, through licensed and regulated nonprofit dispensaries. The nonprofit dispensaries will not be “privately owned” like Adams claims. The dispensaries will be subject to inspection and audits by the Oregon Health Authority and their nonprofit status will be monitored by the Oregon Department of Justice.
Measure 74 contains common-sense regulation and provides the state with the necessary tools to effectively regulate the program. The common-sense regulation is why the measure is supported by a former Portland police chief, a former federal prosecutor and a retired Oregon Supreme Court Judge–their supporting statements may be read in the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet that will be mailed to all Oregon voters.
Cancer patients shouldn’t have to go without a medicine that will help them survive through chemotherapy. Patients inflicted with neuropathic pain shouldn’t be forced to use addictive and dangerous opiates instead of utilizing medical cannabis. Diabetics aren’t forced to produce their own insulin. Medical cannabis patients should have safe access and shouldn’t be forced to risk their well-being on the black market.
The Oregon Health Authority has estimated that Measure 74 will generate millions of dollars for the state and will create more than 5,000 new jobs in the first year alone. By year four, Measure 74 is projected to generate $40 million and create over 12,000 new jobs. This additional revenue will benefit all patients as the revenue will help fund Oregon health programs and medical research that could lead to new medicines that will benefit everyone.
Chief Adams bullet points have nothing to do with Measure 74. He simply went back in time before Oregonians made the compassionate vote in favor of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.
While Oregon’s medical marijuana law has benefited the thousands of patients who have been registered by over 3,000 Oregon doctors and generated over a million dollars for the state, we can do better. We can improve the lives of more patients while creating more jobs and generating more revenue.
A yes vote on Measure 74 is both the compassionate and smart vote.
Anthony Johnson is co-author and co-chief petitioner of Measure 74.