To the editor;
I was a chief petitioner of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA), passed by voters in 1998. Over 10,000 patients have been qualified for the program by more than 1400 doctors. There is no question these patients benefit from medical marijuana.
But, our experience of six years reveals ways to improve the current law. As you mention, the OMMA did not create a supply of medical marijuana for all patients. Not every patient can grow and maintain a garden. Some are too sick while others need medicine immediately and canít wait for a garden to mature.
M33 improves access by creating a supply of medical marijuana through state-regulated and inspected dispensaries. The dispensaries act like pharmacies to sell safe medicine in a safe environment rather than forcing patients to deal with the underground market.
M 33 is not legalization. Only patients qualified in writing by his or her attending physician can register. After M33, it remains a felony to sell marijuana to anyone not registered.
Measure 33 sets more reasonable possession limits while the current law often forces patients to either run out of medicine or break the law. After Measure 33 passes, medical marijuana will be available from regulated, licensed, and inspected dispensaries. The illegal market supported by desperate patients will dry up.
Some opponents argue that loopholes in Measure 33 will help drug dealers. It is nonsense to suggest underground dealers will seek the regulated environment required by Measure 33. Measure 33 provides more regulation than our current law by requiring detailed financial accounting to the state and routine dispensary inspections by the Department of Human Services. Medical marijuana should be available through a safe regulated system. Donít let the war on marijuana interfere with choice in medical care. Vote Yes on 33.
Rick Bayer, MD