THUMBS DOWN ON MARIJUANA, SAIF MEASURES
Don't eliminate SAIF Corp. and don't activate state-regulated marijuana dispensaries. To follow that advice, vote against Measure 38 and Measure 33 in November.
SAIF, which operates one of the finest and fairest workers' compensation insurance systems in the country, has come under fierce attack. But don't let the heat of the campaign divert you.
The anti-SAIF campaign is contrived and financed by Liberty Mutual, one of the nation's largest insurance companies. Liberty was unsuccessful in getting the Legislature to shut down SAIF despite heavy lobbying, and now it's trying to buy voters.
SAIF was beset of late with management problems that now are being corrected. It provides sensible, well-designed, stable rates that help attract and retain business and industry, both small and large.
Support of organized labor for a No vote speaks to SAIF's timely payment to injured workers and the equitable treatment of claims. It also recognizes SAIF's effective safety programs out in the field.
Measure 38 supporters covet SAIF's reserve fund, which they see as excessive, for the state to spend on other programs. But those dollars belong to the businesses whose insurance fees pay the claims of injured workers, and to no one else.
Don't scuttle an admirable workers' insurance program. Definitely No on Measure 38.
Measure 33 involves another side of health care. Oregon took bold action by authorizing medical use of marijuana, but this proposal pushes too far.
It would add nurse practitioners and naturopaths to the medical doctors who now can prescribe the drug under an initiative narrowly approved by voters in 1998. The state already has problems with a few doctors with generous (or greedy) instincts, and Measure 33 would set rules making it even easier for patients to qualify for the program.
Measure 33 would set up nonprofit dispensaries, regulated by the state Health Division, to sell the drug. They'd pay fees theoretically high enough to cover costs, but the law is loaded with exceptions.
One sneaker issue is an increase in the amount of marijuana a patient could have, up from 3 ounces to a full pound. Someone growing just one annual crop could possess nine pounds - that's a lot of marijuana.
The lengthy proposed law masters the art of subterfuge by loosening existing medical marijuana law regulations that are working well. We urge a No vote on Measure 33.
Newshawk: Yes on 33 http://www.yeson33.org/