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In this issue:

Community Reacts To Protect Medical Marijuana Program; Activists Just Say NO To Senate Bill 388 Community Reacts To Protect Medical Marijuana Program; Activists Just Say NO To Senate Bill 388.

Committee on Human Services and Rural Health Policy Committee on Human Services and Rural Health Policy

Oregon Business Leaders Seek Termination of Medical Marijuana Patients' Right to Work, Yet Data Contradicts Workplace Safety Claims Oregon Business Leaders Seek Termination of Medical Marijuana Patients' Right to Work, Yet Data Contradicts Workplace Safety Claims

MERCY Expands On The Gatherings MERCY Expands On The Gatherings

Campaign Continues To Add Medical Cannabis For PTSD To OMMP Campaign Continues To Add Medical Cannabis For PTSD To OMMP

Community Reacts To Protect Medical Marijuana Program

Community Reacts To Protect Medical Marijuana Program; Activists Just Say NO To Senate Bill 388

Community Reacts To Protect Medical Marijuana Program; Activists Just Say NO To Senate Bill 388 Activists Just Say NO To Senate Bill 388

In brief, SB388 is a bunch of bad things demanded by special interests within Law Enforcement and their shills.

It is the majority opinion of the medical cannabis community in Oregon that people should contact Senator Morrisette and the rest of the committee and politely but firmly request this bill be killed.

Officially, SB 388 was introduced by Sen. Morrisette at the request of the Stormy Ray Foundation (SRF), who basically put it together under the direction of LEO lobbyists.

This is a synopsis of the latest version of SB 388:

1) Limits an address to 24 plants no matter how many patients are being grown for.

2) Limits a grower to 24 ounces no matter how many patients they grow for.

3) Requires special OMMP exemption to allow grower or caregiver to store patients' medicine

4) Limits hash to 2 ounces out of the 24 ounces a patient may possess.

5) Allows DHS inspection of growsite as part of mediation process

6) Allows DHS to suspend growers card after investigation

7) Increases seedling size to 18 inches

8) OMMP to publish OMMA handbook

9) Cardholders must swear they understand handbook

10) Allows DHS to do research into medical marijuana (taken from Initiative #28)

IF this bill passes as is, advocates are saying, they absolutely can no longer assist patients in residential care and hospice - They will go without medical marijuana...period. LOT of help this will be for those folks. These patients are not able to come to a place, even could the place handle the safety/traffic/security concerns.

WHAT was the thinking behind all this? Activists have shared with us how AWFUL they feel, being faced with telling their patients they can no longer help them?...some will die! And they are NOT blowing this out of proportion. Many are in angst, thinking of how they are going to tell their hospice patients – the quadriplegics, those with advanced AIDS, advanced MS, awful neurological diseases who they have been helping with medicine at no cost, that they will no longer be able to help them with medical marijuana, should SB 388 pass.

ALL being told they will have to go to the black market for their medicine, thus, getting only a very small percentage of what they therapeutically need. This is the reality of what they will face, plain and simple. Sadly, they cannot refer them elsewhere, because the program will at LEAST double those with no growers.

While A perspective is that the medicine should be stored with the patient may be good for many patients, what about those with "impaired judgment"? Like those with AIDS related dementia or Alzheimer’s, some OMMP patients, if they are given 2 pounds of "green medicine" will chain-smoke the entire amount within a few days. In residential care, it is against fire laws to smoke in one's room, so they would be evicted. We seriously doubt this is in the best interests of these patients. These will not be allowed to live where they do and be OMMP patients. Not to mention the potential threat to the patients by fire, and those other residents of the facility.

The language mandates that DHS must prepare a manual & that the manual must be in "formats that accommodate persons with disabilities." What is the estimate of the costs to the DHS (and ultimately the patients) to have such manuals printed in Braille or to be made available in digital electronic & audible book formats? We believe that all proposals which include additional costs should be estimated and made known to those affected. In addition, only the most naïve persons would think that any of this verbal detritus might have any effect for patients except to increase the difficulty in obtaining a grower.

Another item that is confusing to some is that in 2007 the legislature specifically authorized cooperative gardens. Jeff Kruse did this in response to a question posed by John Sajo of Voter Power. Mr. Sajo explained how he provided for 6 patients and asked if being limited to 4 was simply a paperwork problem. Sen. Kruse responded by saying nothing in the legislation was intended to impair cooperative gardens.

There are some large outdoor gardens with large plants but so what? How is this 'a substantial increase in abuse'? The cooperative gardens work well for the patients.

And so the calls and emails keep coming in with many activists eloquently describing how SB 388 will impact their care of patients, depriving many of their gardens. This is based on the Program Statistics presented by the OMMP at the most recent ACMM meeting where they detail the number of patients whose growsites have how many other patients.

These statistics also indicate that 11,290 growsites are for one patient. But we still do not know what number of these patients actually have a garden. Many of these patients merely list an address as their growsite even though they do not have a garden there, because patients are required to list a growsite or their application will be rejected.

It is crystal clear that SB 388 will reduce the amount of medicine available to patients. This is proposed as a response to "abuse" of this program. But there is no evidence that the patients who will be deprived of medicine had anything to do with any abuse or that their growers did. This is collective punishment of the worst kind - depriving a patient of medicine because of what someone else allegedly did.

This change is wholly unnecessary, given the distribution of patients/growsite info provided by the OMMP. There is no problem, and this “reform” merely harms patients.

We must stop SB 388.

While no one can be faulted for trying to ameliorate the evil that law enforcement seeks to do with the OMMA, the underlying premises are incorrect in this case.

Law enforcement is not a stakeholder. Protecting patients and their providers from Law Enforcement is the reason for the OMMA. There doesn't have to be a 388. There is no urgent need to limit the amount of concentrated cannabis (hashish or hash oil) a patient or a patient's provider can have. 'Significant increase in abuse' is a lie.

Despite any supposed merits of the bill, the political process leading up to this bill passing out of committee is clearly absurd. Unfortunately, a bill that literally affects the life and death of over 23,000 patients (not to mention the freedom of another 10,000 or so caregivers and gardeners) is being negotiated behind close doors. Not to mention the fact that the negotiation is being conducted by law enforcement lobbyists - who would just as soon re-criminalize patients anyway - with only a patient advocacy group that seems to consist of a handful of people.

Our community, with the exception of the SRF, is united in opposition to these proposals. No real advocate for the people of OMMA supports 388 as it is currently coming together.

We will stand united at each and every hearing, and speak with one voice in our calls and e-mails. If 388 is enacted without an emergency clause we will do a referendum. If it is enacted with an emergency clause, we will file an initiative to repeal it. The OMMA is supported by 2/3rds of registered voters, likely to vote. No effort to repeal the OMMA (or to harm it in the way 388 would) will ever survive a vote by We, The People.

In closing we would suggest that with the economic problems Oregon faces, the legislature would be well advised to forego work on ANY anti-marijuana bill in order to prevent the session from being sidetracked by the cat fight which will surely happen should this bill go forth. Prohibitionists have more significantly negative things in store for OMMP and we believe that after three sessions on the MMJ subject, it is probably time to give the issue a rest. Then legislators can work on solving the real problems Oregon faces instead of trying to tweak OMMA this way or that in order to please everyone-and end up pleasing no one.

But whatever happens, SB 388 is not supportable by MERCY or as far as we can tell by anyone of the thousands of OMMP folks not in the SRF "summit" group.

We have been good soldiers with many of these legislators that are our so-called friends. But they need to be called out for the political process that has led up to SB 388 and things like it. Please call, e-mail and visit the committee members to let them know SB 388 must die. And get everybody you know to do so also. It’s a numbers game now and we need every single one of us to stand up, speak out and be counted.

Human Services and Rural Health Policy

Bill Morrisette, Chair sen.billmorrisette@state.or.us, 503-986-1706
Jeff Kruse, Vice-Chair sen.jeffkruse@state.or.us, 503-986-1701
Laurie Monnes Anderson sen.lauriemonnesanderson@state.or.us, 503-986-1725
Chris Telfer sen.christelfer@state.or.us, 503-986-1727
Joanne Verger sen.joanneverger@state.or.us, 503-986-1705

We have to get our message across so get to work! Be polite but firm - SB 388 is bad for patients, bad for growers and bad for the OMMP! After that contact your own Senator and then all the rest of them. Contact info for all is here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/senate/.

Let that building know that we are here, SRF does not represent us and we are not happy!

Oregon Business Leaders Seek Termination of Medical Marijuana Patients' Right to Work, Yet Data Contradicts Workplace Safety Claims

Portland, OR, USA: The Associated Oregon Industries are planning a legislative assault on Oregon's 10-year-old medical marijuana law, claiming that medical marijuana patients in the workplace are a safety risk. However, data compiled by Oregon NORML, from Oregon state government workman's compensation and safety records, shows a ten-year decline in workplace safety statistics. The data are published and hyperlinked on the Oregon NORML website. (http://ornorml.org/)

Harmon, an executive vice president with Hoffman Construction, has been touring the state in his capacity as chair of the Drugfree Workplace Legislative Work Group, giving presentations on their goals for the 2009 biennial legislative session. These goals include re-introducing a bill that died last session that would grant employers the right to fire medical marijuana patients for their off-site, after-hours, legal use of cannabis medicine, as well as allowing employers to refuse to hire any medical marijuana patients—regardless of skill, experience, or a clean safety record.

Hoffman is also touting plans to reduce plant and possession limits, to require patients to first use Marinol before attaining a medical marijuana card; to eliminate medical marijuana clinics by requiring only one's bona fide doctor is recommending cannabis; and to require the state to notify an employer if an employee applies for a medical marijuana card.

"Oregon's own state health and safety databases show that Dan Harmon is misleading the people of Oregon," says Russ Belville, Oregon NORML's Associate Director, who pulled together data from Oregon's Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Workman's Compensation Division, and the federal government's National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. "During the ten years that the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act has been in place, the program has grown from 500 patients to over 20,000 now. Yet, workplace fatalities, time-off injuries, non-time-off injuries, DUIDs, and citations for serious OSHA workplace safety violations have all declined in the same ten years."

"Now that doesn't mean medical marijuana patients made the workplaces any safer," Belville concludes, "but if they made the workplace increasingly more dangerous, that's not showing up in these data. Harmon is offering up job discrimination against the disabled as a poor solution in search of a non-existent problem."

In 1998, after Measure 67 (the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act) was approved by voters, there were 3.3 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers. There were also 3.5 non-fatal injuries, requiring no time off, and 3.4 non-fatal injuries requiring no time off. By 2006, those figures had dropped to 2.1, 2.4, and 2.8, respectively.

There were 4,446 citations of serious OSHA violations in 1998; in 2005 the number was 4,309. DUI citations, crashes, and fatalities per 1,000 Oregonians dropped from 7.5, 6.5, and 0.16 to 7.0, 5.5, and 0.11, respectively, from 1998 to 2006.

The data, however, may be irrelevant to Harmon. While he cites workplace safety and legal liability as factors in discriminating against medical marijuana patients in the workplace, he and other business leaders in testimony before a House committee in 2007 could not cite one instance where a patient's legal off-site, after-hours use of medical cannabis contributed to any workplace safety incident. Revealing his true intentions, Hoffman was quoted in the Albany Democrat-Herald calling his work a "moral crusade" and that acceptance of medical marijuana "says something about permissiveness in this state, and we've got to stop this permissiveness."

Source < http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7756 - For more information, please see Tables and charts of the data from official Oregon and federal databases appears on the "Data" page at Oregon NORML's website, http://ornorml.org/data.

MERCY Expands On The Gatherings

Beginning April 28th, MERCY will be hosting meetings at the Gathering Place Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from Noon til 4pm and Wednesday evenings from 7pm til 9pm the Gathering Place will be open to receive visitors and allow people to network on and about medical cannabis. The place offers a unique opportunity for the cardholders in the Salem area as the owners are allowing folks to exchange resources and even medicate on-site.

There is no fee to attend and non-cardholders and the public are welcome whether just there to get info or waiting for a cardholding acquaintance. We facilitate their accommodation and have info on how to get your card, as well as other literature, available for them. The Gathering Place is in Keizer and is located at 7845 River Road NE, 97301. For more info, maps and directions, visit - The Gatherings page.

Campaign Continues To Add Medical Cannabis For PTSD To OMMP

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric illness that can occur following a traumatic event in which there was threat of injury or death to you or someone else. PTSD may occur soon after a major trauma, or can be delayed for more than six months after the event. When it occurs soon after the trauma it usually resolves after three months, but some people experience a longer-term form of the condition, which can last for many years.

We are pleased to report that Efforts are underway to add PTSD to the List of Qualifying Conditions to Register with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). Edward Glick, activist, is petitioning the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to add Clinical Depression, Depressive Symptoms, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Severe Anxiety, Agitation and Insomnia to Those Diseases and Conditions Which Qualify as ‘Debilitating Medical Conditions’ under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

“One often intractable problem for which cannabis provides relief is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I have more than 100 patients with PTSD. Among those reporting that cannabis alleviates their PTSD symptoms are veterans of the war in Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and the current occupation of Iraq. Similar benefit is reported by victims of family violence, rape and other traumatic events, and children raised in dysfunctional families.” -- David Bearman, MD; from PTSD and Cannabis: A Clinician Ponders Mechanism of Action.

As un-limited written patient testimony is allowed, everything possible is being done to get it gathered. If you have one of these proposed conditions, please write out your testimony and email it to action item organizer Ed Glick at: glicke@live.com

If you're unable to send via e-mail, contact MERCY and we'll help get it to him. Call 503.363-4588 (in the Salem area) or visit – http://mercycenters.org/action/camp_PTSD.html


Another thing that can be done to help add Conditions is for Patients to be sure to add any Secondary conditions that are also being treated with cannabis.

These are typically noted in the Comments section of the ATTENDING PHYSICIAN’S STATEMENT form. So be sure to note any other symptoms / conditions that you utilize cannabis for that are not one of the current official qualifying conditions. ATTENDING PHYSICIAN’S STATEMENT form is at > http://oregon.gov/DHS/ph/ommp/docs/newphys.pdf

Click here for a printable MERCY News Report with these stories.   Click here for MERCYs Calendar of Events.  

  News`Spring 2009 Bulletin Board  
Enter the NotePad! Enter questions, comments and link info in the NotePad. If you leave info about an Archived item for the above section, It will be transfered up to the main list as soon as we can (and following approval). To request further maintenance, use the FeedBack form below.

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Sunday, October 19 at 07:36 PM:
me from here wrote:
"MERCY has been pioneering the medical marijuana Meetings & Meet-Ups process here in Oregon since the passage of OMMA in the late 90’s. Since then they have helped to qualify thousands of patients for the OMMP and they are helping to schedule Meetings & Meet-Ups all around Oregon on an ongoing basis. If you're interested in the Medical Marijuana Act, Meetings & Meet-Ups may be of help. Ask questions, network to resources or just help out with the cause. Contact MERCY to inquire further. "

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