Measure will bring pot regulation

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Northeast Portland resident Jay Freeman checks for mites in the marijuana he is cultivating for his own use and to give away to other Oregon medical marijuana cardholders. Some letter writers believe passing Measure 74 in November will add regulation to the flawed Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

Regarding the story 'Out-of-staters now eligible for pot' (Aug. 12), I applaud the decision to allow out-of-state patients to participate in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Cannabis medicine is safer, has fewer side effects and it works for many thousands of people.

We do want visitors feeling well so they can spend their money in Oregon. It is legal for me to use my doctor-prescribed medicine in states other than Oregon. Why would cannabis be any different? Equal treatment under the law applies to all of us.

And Stormy Ray is one person of several who were part of bringing us the original Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. They are the ones who made her chief petitioner and, with the exception of Stormy, not only support Measure 74, but some of them wrote it. This is an important detail that folks publicizing Stormy's position continue to overlook.

During the last legislative session, medical cannabis patients filled three hearing rooms to overflowing three times for the Senate Bill 388 hearings opposing Ms. Ray's plans for changing the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

Her Senate Bill 1085 in 2005 is what brought us the 24 oz. limits, took away affirmative defense for cardholders and brought us the unworkable 13-inch rule, which says an 11-inch plant is immature and a 13-inch plant is mature. Any gardeners out there who measure maturity by height? Another important note: Although patients may patronize the Cannabis Cafe and enjoy café-provided medical cannabis while they are there, they may not purchase cannabis to take away from the cafe until Measure 74 passes. Right now, it is your own garden, someone else's charity or the black market.

Measure 74 will bring us regulation where we have none, it will provide cannabis patients safe access to medical marijuana, fund research, establish a program to assist low-income patients, create jobs and produce revenue for the state. Win, win, win.

Kristen Gustafson

Southeast Portland

Oregon can learn from Florida

Hopefully, Oregon state officials will reconsider issuing medical marijuana cards to out-of-staters (Out-of-staters now eligible for pot, Aug. 12). Documentaries by MSNBC and other networks have focused on the growing problem in South Florida where 'pain clinics' pop up daily.

Walk-in clinics with their crudely fashioned signs line the streets and strip malls in a number of small towns. A resident physician in each clinic charges a hefty fee for 'diagnosing' a chronic pain condition, and narcotic medications by the hundreds are dispensed on-site to each 'patient.'

The streets are clogged with out-of-state cars and trucks and 'patients' speak openly of the profits to be made in Georgia and Alabama and elsewhere, where prescription pain pills are more expensive and not readily obtainable.

Apparently the Florida Legislature has concluded it must 'grandfather in' existing clinics, but it hopes to foil the explosion of new ones.

Let's research this potential problem before it becomes unmanageable.

Sally Sandberg

Southwest Portland

Measure 74 will fix system's flaws

Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program has been flawed since its inception, because it is designed to help a small percentage of patients (Out-of-staters now eligible for pot, Aug. 12).

Cardholders have to know people currently growing or (who) have the resources and good health to produce the medicine their doctor recommends. Nov. 2 we have a chance to fix the program, create thousands of jobs and raise millions for the Oregon Health Plan and Department of Human Services.

The authors of this initiative addressed all of the problems created by a lack of regulation in the states that currently have dispensaries. The dispensaries must be nonprofits. Dispensaries and producers must report what happens to every plant and where every penny is raised and spent. The license fees and taxes on producers and dispensaries are fair prices to pay in order to do business. There are inspections of producer's gardens. There will be no dispensaries in purely residential areas, nor within 1,000 feet of a school.

I have worked and volunteered in four different organizations that offer medical marijuana clinics, and the story is the same for every patient. They are frustrated with how difficult it is to get a card, and they are frustrated that they don't know where they will access medicine when the process is over. Please vote yes on Measure 74.

Sarah Duff

Assistant Clinic Director,

Oregon Green Free Clinical Services

North Portland

Gulf still reeling from Katrina

I find the article 'Locals 'bear witness' in Gulf' (Aug. 12) simply absurd. Yes, oil has screwed up the Gulf Coast. But let me tell you that after volunteering for Hurricane Katrina victims since December 2006 in eight separate trips as an independent volunteer, I personally take offense to the fact no one seems to care about the continued need to repair damage from five years back.

Absolutely intolerable, yet no media will 'ink' it as half of a decade has passed. New Orleans to date is short approximately 25 percent of its pre-Katrina population. What would Portland be like if one quarter of its population just simply did not exist any longer (as in tax base, etc.)?

And on top of that, no one airs it or writes about it except as a 'sideshow' to the current oil spill or some little blip on a back page. It seems like we are a Fourth World country based on our treatment of our neighbors to the south of us.

Sad, but true.

Ken Hennrich

Southeast Portland

Gulf workers raise awareness

Kudos to this team of citizens with a great deal of expertise in environmental science, preservation and restoration (Locals 'bear witness' in Gulf,Aug. 12). It is important that the damage done in the Gulf to ecological and economic systems be widely understood so that we can correct the problems and avoid disasters like this in the future. Lest we forget!

Steve Mullinax

Southwest Portland

Ending corruption a sustainability goal

Reading this piece on the rebuilding of Haiti, I was struck by the extent of the devastation and how many structures seem to have been leveled by the earthquake that probably would still be standing here in the U.S. under the same circumstances (Green homes Haiti-bound, Aug. 12). Which got me thinking about how a lot of the construction was substandard, but passed inspection because officials were paid to look the other way.

And then I made the connection: Ending corruption should be a sustainability goal.

If (say) a family has to farm 20 acres of plantains in a normal economy to have a sustenance-level existence, then that same family will have to clear and grow on 25 acres to have the same existence if 25 percent of its earnings are being consumed in bribes and corruption (and that might be a low figure).

Putting aside the moral aspects of corruption, if sustainability can be seen as using resources efficiently to reduce one's footprint, then corruption is an economic inefficiency. It adds no value, and merely adds economic drag on the efficiency of production.

Anyone wanting to rebuild a greener Haiti can ill-afford to turn a blind eye on corruption. While I applaud the efforts of people involving themselves in the rebuilding of Haiti, they would be leaving the work half done if they did not endeavor in their efforts to reconstruct a corruption-free future for this country.

Philip A. Prindeville

Northwest Portland