Business Group Takes Aim at Pot Law

Business Group Takes Aim at Pot Law
Posted by CN Staff on October 26, 2008 at 05:45:45 PT
By Bennett Hall, Gazette-Times Business Editor
Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times
Oregon -- On the eve of its 10th anniversary, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act is facing a determined attack by a coalition of business and other interests.In November 1998, a voter-approved initiative made Oregon the second state, after California, to allow medicinal use of marijuana to help people deal with pain and side effects of treatment of certain conditions including cancer, AIDS and glaucoma. But the drug remains illegal under state and especially federal law, an inconvenient fact that has led to numerous difficulties in implementing the medical marijuana act.
Nevertheless, participation in the state’s medical marijuana program has grown steadily, with more than 20,000 people currently holding cards authorizing them to use the drug.Some employers have never been comfortable with the program, and now a coalition called the Drugfree Workplace Legislative Work Group is mounting a concerted effort to keep medical marijuana out of the job site and roll back major portions of the act.“We are going to push hard this next session,” Dan Harmon, the work group’s chairman, told Albany Area Chamber of Commerce members Thursday. “We’ve told the legislative officers, ‘You’d better tape your socks on, because we’re going to come hard.’”The executive vice president of Hoffman Corp., a large Portland construction firm, Harmon is also co-chairman of Associated Oregon Industries. The Drugfree Workplace Legislative Work Group is an offshoot of Workdrugfree, a program of the Oregon Nurses Foundation whose backers include 10 chambers of commerce and several regional business organizations.When the Legislature convenes in January, the work group plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 465, which would exempt employers from having to accommodate medical marijuana users, no matter when or where they use the drug. The bill cleared the Oregon Senate in 2007 but died in a House committee.In addition, the group intends to introduce legislation that would amend the act in a number of ways, including:• eliminating some conditions currently approved for treatment with marijuana;• restricting the approval of new conditions;• reducing the amount of marijuana patients can have;• making it a crime “with substantial jail time and fines” to violate the act; and• requiring employer notification when a worker applies for a card.For more than a year now, Harmon has been touring the state giving similar presentations to chambers of commerce and organizations such as Associated Oregon Industries, trying to build support for his cause.Speaking to the Albany chamber last week, he said Hoffman Corp. won’t hire anyone with a medical marijuana card and cited several reasons why other employers might want to take the same approach, including concerns about workplace safety, legal liability and the potential loss of federal contracts.But he also claimed Oregon’s medical marijuana law is being widely abused, and he framed the effort to scale back the law as a moral crusade.The OMMA “says something about permissiveness in this state, and we’ve got to stop this permissiveness,” he told business people gathered at the Central Willamette Community Credit Union headquarters. “It’s a very symbolic issue.”Harmon claimed his proposed legislative package has strong backing in Salem, and three mid-valley lawmakers were on hand at Thursday’s forum to back him up. Sen. Frank Morse, R-Albany; Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany; and Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, all voiced support for Harmon’s program.But there is opposition as well.A handful of medical marijuana advocates have attended or tried to attend several of Harmon’s presentations to challenge what they say are distorted claims about medicinal pot. On Thursday, a half-dozen activists who tried to attend for the Albany forum were turned away at the door by Chamber of Commerce members.“We’ve been haunting these people for a while now, and I’m sure they wish we’d go away,” said Sandee Burbank, one of the people excluded from the Albany event. “They get real loose with the facts when nobody’s around to call them on it.”Burbank is the executive director of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, a 26-year-old organization that lobbies for more liberal drug laws and operates a medical marijuana clinic in Portland. She also chairs the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana in the state Department of Human Services.She said it’s unfair to lump people who use marijuana for medical reasons in with those who abuse the drug to get high.“I’m a patient as well,” she said. “I use a tincture for my arthritis. I put it on topically and there’s no intoxication at all.”Employers could readily accommodate medical users, she argued, if they tested workers for impairment rather than for metabolic traces of pot, which can stay in the urine for weeks after use.In his Albany presentation, Harmon argued that there are no practical impairment tests available to employers. But he also characterized the push to accommodate pharmaceutical pot users on the job as part of a larger campaign to undermine drug laws in Oregon.“It’s not about sick people,” Harmon said. “It’s about legalizing marijuana.”But Dr. Grant Higginson, who oversees Oregon’s medical marijuana program, said employers ought to be able to accommodate workers who properly use the drug as allowed under the 10-year-old state law.“The intent of the law is to try to make medical marijuana more like other medicines,” Higginson said. “As long as medical marijuana is treated like other drugs, I would think they’d be on fairly solid ground.”Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times (OR)Author: Bennett Hall, Gazette-Times Business EditorPublished: October 26, 2008Copyright: 2008 Lee EnterprisesContact: bennett.hall lee.netWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on October 27, 2008 at 20:24:07 PT
Business Group Takes Aim at Medical Pot Law
The Associated PressOctober 28, 2008
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on October 26, 2008 at 22:09:03 PT
Mr. Harmon and his cohorts
need to get their noses out of everyone's business and go try and "Produce" something worthwhile towards all that "Productivity" they're fussing so much about, instead of just being trouble makers, instigators, and trying to drum up business for the prison industrial complex.Arrogant, Puritanical, slave driving, busy bodies is what they are. They need "real" jobs.
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Comment #14 posted by NikoKun on October 26, 2008 at 20:43:35 PT
Businesses/employers HAVE NO SAY over what medicines people/employees take. Marijuana, under this act, is nothing more than a medicine!And I call BS on this:
"making it a crime “with substantial jail time and fines” to violate the act;"
This is Marijuana we are talking about! Not murder, rape, theft, or other violent crimes with clearly defined victims... Marijuana is safer than alcohol or aspirin, and it's use medical or recreational harms no one, and causes no violence!
How the hell can they justify "substantial jail time" for ANYTHING related to Marijuana... -_-
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Comment #13 posted by Vincent on October 26, 2008 at 19:48:27 PT
Initiative to Undermine OMMA
Who is this knucklehead Harmon? When he talks about resrictions to the Oregon Marijuana policy, he frames it as a "moral issue". I smell a fundamentalist Christian lurking about. Did you notice that this fool's supporters are three Republicans?
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Comment #12 posted by The GCW on October 26, 2008 at 17:54:59 PT
David R. Darrah
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Comment #11 posted by David R Darrah on October 26, 2008 at 15:43:04 PT:
The living God gave marijuana to the first man in Genesis 1:29; And God said, "behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat". In the New Testament book Hebrews the six chapter,seven verse God says;"For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God". keef should be given to the sick today and the unrightless laws stoped. Brother David  http;//
marijuana bust number
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Comment #10 posted by museman on October 26, 2008 at 12:49:54 PT
OT: "To The People"
I love this country like I love my wife, I love this land like I love my life, but that ain't the America they play on TV that ain't the America we let the world see, and I'm just not so over VietNam, to pick war back up and do it again.  I love these mountains like they were the only ones, I love these trees like they were my only sons, but that ain't the America that's under the gun, that ain't the America that fights a war that's never done, and I ain't convinced the rats don't run the show, for my children I tell you "Hell no, we won't go!"  I love these people like I love a song, I love this freedom, and that was never wrong. but that ain't the America referred to as "The Law" that ain't the America of the fourty hour draw, and there's no reason under the sun to trust our s/elected kings, Let them be the first in battle, wouldn't that change the air of things?  Can't you see behind the veils of intended misdirection? Don't they know that with all the pomp and patriotic rhetoric, (of course making good use of the tragedies close at hand,) we (the people) are not really fooled, and the wind still blows where it will?  Will we encourage the sacrifice of our children, once again to enforce and maintain error throughout the world? (fodder for those who profit in the deadly game of war,) The rich must be defended, and the "right" of property must prevail.  Do you really believe in the exchange of your life? Is it really worth all the hours, days, weeks, and years? Are your wages equal to the Presidents? Is their time worth more than yours? Do their eyes have saltier tears?  A wake up call was issued long ago, but as a race we must be half deaf, 'cause the message keeps getting louder all the time, and it'll keep on getting louder, 'til none of the sleepers are left  They say it is our national christian duty, by word, example and deed, to cry for revenge of those forever lost to us, in berserker rage, rains of fire and destruction, and bloodthirsty zeal. To murder those who murdered us, who were murdered by somebody's ancestors, who were murdered in revenge for their preceding murderousness, which was revenge for having been murdered.  Alas for those who would continue to uphold the illusion of fine cloth hiding the emporers' scrawny nakedness, THE CHILD SEES. THE CHILD SAW. HE TOLD US. WE KNOW. 
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Comment #9 posted by museman on October 26, 2008 at 12:01:54 PT
"Harmon argued that there are no practical impairment tests available to employers."And of course within his obviously alcohol-brain-dead-republican, G.O.B., 1% consciousness, the fact that a supervisor or foreman couldn't efficiently, effectively or definitively determine a workers 'impairment' through the performance of their own job duties, one of which is the observation of employees to make sure thehealth and safety of all the workers is not in jeopardy, the fact that no impairment is observable should be adequate enough for the work place. Obviously this is the Thought Police in action, because its not what you do, or how you do it that makes you 'impaired' its how you think and feel about being a mindless slave in service to the ultra rich that 'impairs' you.If it is that difficult to tell whether a person is 'impaired' or not, I would think it logical to assume that if there is no 'obvious and visible' impairment, than it is equally logical to assume that there is no impairment.Of course we all know that people who smoke pot are 'status quo' impaired, in that they tend to not fall down and worship invisible clothes worn by our imperial government. They tend to want to spend more time USING their brain, instead of putting it to sleep in the mindless slavery of the 'job.'Notice the (R) after the names of all the "strong backing in Salem."You know, one of the reasons I believe, that we had such a housing boom/bust in Oregon recently was an effort of the part of the failing GOB to stack more conservative votes into the more democratic districts, like ours. In the early 90's they managed to get quite an influx of Californians to move up here and raise Oregon property values with Ca. money. Our republican legislature is a bunch of inbred red-neck dynasties who have been in power since William Randolph Hearst created the logging industry here.They plan to do this after the election, but they are going to find very little support outside their Klan.The law enforcement here just got a big bailout -it was attached to the bailout plan of the banks. They've been refunded by the fed even though the people consistently keep voting them out. Because all americans are terrorists until proven otherwise (particularly if they don't have play money in the illusory banking system.)I think they are all in for a rude awakening.FREE WAKE AND BAKE FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #8 posted by greenmed on October 26, 2008 at 11:18:51 PT
open windows
No apologies necessary, Kap. My hope too, the one silver lining to Mr. Harmon's non-altruistic efforts, is that union workers will recognize the unfair rejection of state-authorized medical cards. How many workplace accidents are related to Rx medications, not to mention untreated or under-treated disorders for which cannabis has been shown effective.The People of Oregon will see for themselves: By their words, ye shall know them. Amen.
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on October 26, 2008 at 10:40:49 PT:
Sorry, had too many wiondows open
Obviously that was Greenmed. My apologies (ears burning)
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on October 26, 2008 at 10:38:37 PT:
Took the words out of my mouth
Mr. Harmon and his cohorts do not recognize cannabis as medicine. In their eyes, medication is 'substance abuse' that they claim diminishes their profit margin. - PotpalLike I said, 'workplace safety' has little or nothing to do with this, as anyone who has ever worked in a factory (raising own hand) knows that any accident in a manufacturing plant nowadays prompts a drug test...but no one stands at the door holding a breathalyzer when you come in. Had someone done so at the place where I'd once worked, I'd bet a handful of people would have been sent home every day. This is a raw 'will to power' issue, nothing more than that. If this nation had effective unions, instead of ones that are in effect arms of management, this kind of thing wouldn't be happening. But as times get worse, don't be surprised if unions with teeth make a comeback. The first one that states up front that they will work for abolishing random, suspicion-less drug testing in the workplace will find it's hit paydirt, membership wise. 
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Comment #5 posted by greenmed on October 26, 2008 at 09:09:39 PT
related article
"Speaker: Drug, booze abuse rising in workplaces" Harmon and his cohorts do not recognize cannabis as medicine. In their eyes, medication is 'substance abuse' that they claim diminishes their profit margin.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 26, 2008 at 08:17:07 PT
I understand what you mean about big business. When money is the end result of anything it is doomed to become corrupt and ultimately fail. Money is a drug for some people.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on October 26, 2008 at 07:39:18 PT:
Runruff, the stupid we will always have
Always.Having recently reached my fifth decade, I recall all the noise back in the late 1970's about how if we just lifted the heavy hand of regulation from the backs of Big Business, we'd have paradise in this country. Instead, deregulation led almost immediately into the Savings and Loan crisis of the early 1980's (in which Senator McCain and the Bush Family played no small part). Since then, it's been one financial scandal after another, each one worse than before, culminating in the Crash of 2008, and we haven't seen the worst of it yet.Those regulations had been put in place in the 1930's because the very same greed shown today by the heads of such companies as ENRON had ruled the Investor Class back then, and that greed led to the Great Depression and all the attendant misery that went with it. You'd think people would have learned, but as I mentioned several times, even though it's all there in any decent history book, there's always someone who won't read it. In this country, there's scores of millions of them. And when they vote, they sadly prove H. L. Mencken's sourest observations about democracy correct: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard. and "Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on October 26, 2008 at 07:07:06 PT
Like standing downwind of a chili eating contest
Legalizing it, using it for medical, making fabric, oil, getting high for fun or meditation, what the he!! does it matter to him? He wants to control medicine because somebody might enjoy a high? He had better start with Rush L. and the millions of others who are using dangerous and toxic chemical drugs in the work place. Moral issue??? Moral issue!!! What the???? To imbibe mother nature is somehow immoral? In the mood I'm in all I can say is when will we be done with idiots like this? When will people stop listening to this skewed masked agenda?
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on October 26, 2008 at 07:02:39 PT:
By their words, ye shall know them
A paraphrase of the old Biblical line, but no less true. The culture warriors have gotten their marching orders.The OMMA “says something about permissiveness in this state, and we’ve got to stop this permissiveness,” he told business people gathered at the Central Willamette Community Credit Union headquarters. “It’s a very symbolic issue.”Right there, the culture warrior, a.k.a the sado-moralist, speaks. "Permisiveness" is one their hot-button words, guaranteed to get them foaming at the mouth. This isn't about helping sick people, it's about maintaining economic, and therefore, social and political control over people's lives. Because the OMMA acts as a wedge to give employees a defense against tyrannical practices of management, such as threat of loss of job for failing a drug-test. 'Massa', in the modern-day plantation that is the 'conservative'-dominated business sector, doesn't need whips and shackles anymore; he's got a pink slip to hold over your head. Do what you're told, whether it be in your interest or not (or, in some cases, whether it can hurt or kill you) or you're shown the door. And in this economy, the one that until very recently favored management so very much (and the one they've thoroughly screwed up, i.e. the 'liquidity crisis') due to most CEOs of corporations being Republicans and their benefiting from the recent Big Business fellating political climate, getting fired can be equivalent to a death sentence.But the times, they are a-changin'...finally. Whether you support him or not, Mr. Obama's ascendancy is indicative of the rise of a populist movement, one that is basically pro-Labor in its' outlook, as opposed to the 'Ownership Society' (which wants to own everything and make you a serf) represented by corporate management. Over the last 25 years, people have been squeezed, the value of their labor discounted by globalist greed, their quality of life reduced, their futures and that of their children threatened...and they're mad as Hell about it. And the DrugWar was a large part of the weaponry used to keep the 'wage slaves' in their place. Anything that chips away at the DrugWar's support of the foundation of their social control gives them the cold sweats. This is partly why Mr. Harmon and his ilk are so terrified, despite their bravado. Given what they and their social class (and yes, it is 'class warfare', kiddies, and always has been) have done to the country, they have good reason. 
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