Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Marinol, a pharmaceutical derived from marijuana, is classified as a Schedule 3 drug in Oregon, while marijuana itself is now classified as a more dangerous Schedule 2 controlled substance. That difference has marijuana advocates planning an appeal of a recent Oregon State Board of Pharmacy ruling.

Doctors can't prescribe marijuana for smoking in Oregon or anywhere else in the world (State gives marijuana a new classification, July 1). Oregon's marijuana law merely requires a doctor to certify that the marijuana user has one of the medical conditions listed in the law.

That's the end of doctor involvement.

There is no physician oversight of, or responsibility for, the marijuana use, as there would be with a legitimate prescription.

The federal government rates smoked marijuana as Schedule 1, because smoked marijuana is addictive and has no legitimate medical use. The Oregon Legislature recently ordered the State Board of Pharmacy to relax the federal rating of smoked marijuana. This occurred through a political process, not a scientific or medical process.

The 1998 Oregon marijuana law was created through political means, not medical. Arguments in favor of legalized marijuana were, and remain, in conflict with scientific evidence. Marijuana advocates are duping some Oregonians and many Democrats.

There is nothing healthy, beneficial or medical about smoking marijuana.

Roger Burt

Southeast Portland

Facts about pot will win over time

Pretty straightforward story but for one strange bit of misinformation: It states that Schedule 2 drugs must be prescribed by a physician, but this doesn't have to happen for cardholders under the medical marijuana program (State gives marijuana a new classification, July 1). Yet that's exactly how one becomes a 'cardholder.'

A physician must formally declare that a person has a medical condition for which cannabis is effective treatment. In other words, a physician prescribes cannabis for the individual, just as with any other controlled drug. 'Potential for abuse' is of course very subjective.

If we were starting today, without the baggage of distorted hysteria from 80 years of marijuana prohibition, there's little question that marijuana would be classified as Schedule 4 or, at most, Schedule 3. But sometimes incremental steps are better than no steps at all, and facts usually prevail over time.

Jim Gardner

Southwest Portland

Marijuana should not be controlled

The two views on medical marijuana by John Sajo and Roger Burt are both flawed.

John Sajo's ace in the hole is the $10 million to $40 million of revenue that would be created during the first year of Initiative 28's passage (Control, tax medical marijuana, May 27).

Roger Burt wants the use of medical marijuana abolished (Medical pot a gateway to problems, May 27). Monetarily speaking, his bottom line is pharmaceutical corporations can profit from it, but not the state of Oregon.

Title 37 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (471.403) says 'the Liquor Control Act does not apply to the making or keeping of naturally fermented wines and fruit juices or beer in the home, for home consumption and not for sale.' The same common sense should apply to marijuana grown in the home.

Legal or not, marijuana is a naturally growing plant. Handing it over to Big Pharma, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission or the Department of Human Services to regulate only introduces more control over our lives. Adults in Oregon are capable of making their own decisions - whether one agrees with them or not.

Robert Simms

Oregon City

Photograph showed a dangerous stance

While hit-and-run is certainly very serious, and most definitely worthy of strong punishments - I like lifetime ban on driving privileges, coupled with jail time or civil penalties based upon amount of injury - I cannot help but notice the accompanying photograph (Hit and run, June 24): A bicyclist, standing beside her bike, in the center left-turn lane of 82nd Avenue.

I'm sorry, but that is just dumb. Plain, dumb. Not at a crosswalk. Not protected. You don't stand in the middle of a street, with cars on one side and semi-trucks on the other side - what if a car had to suddenly swerve into the center lane due to an obstruction in its lane (another vehicle making an unsafe lane change; debris flying off of a vehicle)? It would not - I repeat, NOT - be the motorists' fault for hitting this person. It would be the bicyclist/pedestrian's fault.

It would have been adequate, and much more appropriate, to have taken the photograph from the sidewalk.

Erik Halstead

Southwest Portland

Bicyclists should pay their fair share

Owners of cars pay for roads and transportation infrastructure (Hit and run, June 24). In addition, they bear all costs of liability should there be an accident between a car and biker. Bikers pay nothing - they are parasites on the backs of hardworking people.

Motorists are under constant attack in this city by the goon squad running City Hall. Until (they) demand the bikers pay their fair share, don't expect motorists to have empathy for the freeloading biker crowd.

Geoff Rode

Southeast Portland

Quality of treatment not guaranteed

Medical tourism is here to stay (Medical adventure ends in billing dispute, June 24).

It's about the patient's choice of a doctor or a hospital. One of my neighbors is arranging medical tourism to Costa Rica for a group of U.S. patients.

People who visit or vacation to another country for a longer period of a few months, rather than a week or two, could come across an emergency that could not wait for their return to the United States for treatment. However, if they would inform their insurance company about their travel plans before they leave the United States, most insurance companies, I believe, would agree to pay for a probable emergency treatment after a deductible amount.

Some insurance companies have begun to provide an option for treatment of major surgery to be done in another country with a lower deductible or monthly insurance fees. However, the quality of the treatment or replacement of body parts or the aftercare could not be guaranteed.

(The insurance company's requirement for) an itemized medical treatment (bill) is understandable to avoid fraud.

Shantu Shah

Southwest Portland

Insurance company shouldn't get blame

Gee, I have to get written authorization for all surgeries and many other procedures to get treatment here in the United States. Why blame the insurance company (Medical adventure ends in billing dispute, June 24)?

If we want them to lower medical costs and premiums, their requirement to be provided with an itemized bill just makes sense in controlling costs. The president has talked endlessly about the fraud and abuse that is costing health care billions of wasted dollars and procedures. Now we see Regence asking for written verification of both their approval of the procedures and an itemized bill for $100,000 and we are criticizing them for those efforts?

It is apparent that the insurance companies cannot win in some groups.

Ann Friday

Southwest Portland

Emergency staging area is not secure

Unless I'm mistaken, that area near Northwest Yeon and Nicolai is a landfill (i.e. the old Guild's Lake area). During an earthquake, those soils are likely to liquefy, destroying just about anything sitting on them (Quake inevitable; response not, June 10).

The worst damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco and Oakland occurred due to liquefied soils in landfill areas, the prime example being the Nimitz Freeway collapse (which was responsible for more than two-thirds of that quake's death-toll). The areas of the freeway that were built on landfill were the areas that collapsed.

The Loma Prieta quake lasted only 15 seconds (although it seemed a lot longer than that to those of us who were there); a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake is likely to last 20 times longer and at magnitude of 9.0-plus will be more than 1,000 times more energetic, presenting a far greater liquefaction threat.

The 600 or so acres of the old Guild's Lake area will be a mess after a Cascadia quake. Even if by some miracle the equipment sitting on the land isn't destroyed, it is unlikely emergency crews would be able to get to it, given the heavy damage one would expect in any landfill zone. An emergency staging area should not be on or near landfill nor alluvial soils.

Michael Kisor

Southwest Portland

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