Here is my letter to the Dalles Chronicle. They give you up to 400 words if you read the website (guess one size does not fit all). OK, fun time is over. Time to put on a long-sleeve white shirt, red tie, and navy pinstripe "Republican suit" and go pitch for Measure 33.
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 8:34 AM To: email@example.com Subject: Letter to the Editor: Yes on 33: in response to Chronicle 9/13/04 Drug czar hits Oregon measure
I was a chief petitioner for the medical marijuana act passed in 1998, and although successful, it did not create a supply of medicine for all patients. Some patients need medicine immediately or can't grow a garden. Measure 33 amends the original act to improve access to medicine by creating state-regulated dispensaries that act like pharmacies to sell safe medicine in a safe environment rather than forcing patients to deal with the underground market.
M33 is not legalization. Only patients who are qualified by licensed health care providers can register, while sales to persons not registered remain a felony.
M 33 dispensaries are funded by patient and dispensary fees paid to the Department of Human Services and will not cost taxpayers money. In fact, the program currently has a cash balance over one million dollars.
The new limits of one pound for most patients and six if registered for only one annual outdoor harvest are what patients need. The federal government still provides six or more pounds each year to select patients under the “Investigational New Drug Program" for marijuana but this was closed to new patients over ten years ago.
Many dying and suffering patients are afflicted with debilitating conditions and the responsible use of marijuana as medicine offers relief. Patients should not be arrested for using marijuana under medical supervision and medical marijuana trials should not be clogging up our courts.
Measure 33 will actually help our criminal justice system by focusing resources on serious crimes instead of patients trying to acquire their medicine. After Measure 33 passes, medical marijuana will come from regulated, licensed, and inspected dispensaries. Patients will be secure with a safe supply of medicine. The illegal market supported by desperate patients will dry up.
Health care professionals would prescribe marijuana if it were federally legal to do so, but in the mean time; laws like the 1998 Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and the 2004 amendment, Measure 33, improve access to medicine and health care.
If you or a loved one were sick, wouldn’t you want reliable access to the medicine that helps? Medical marijuana should be available through a safe regulated system. Don’t let the war on medical marijuana interfere with choice in medical care. Vote for compassion and common sense. Vote Yes on 33.
Richard E. Bayer, MD