Measure 74 Could Establish Dispensaries 
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Measure 74 Could Establish Dispensaries 
Posted by CN Staff on October 14, 2010 at 05:44:17 PT
By Ian Geronimo, News Reporter
Source: Oregon Daily Emerald
Oregon -- With 19 days until the November election, opinions over Measure 74 are drastically different, with disputants quarreling over the specific implications of the measure itself, as well as the broader argument about the place for marijuana in society.If passed, the Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System Act, commonly referred to as Measure 74, would expand the reach of Oregon's medical marijuana laws by establishing a system of nonprofit, state-licensed growers and distributors, allowing medical marijuana users to purchase cannabis in accordance with their prescriptions.
As law exists now, medical marijuana card holders must either grow their own marijuana or rely on a caregiver to grow it for them. There are no mass dispensaries in the state.Oregon voters originally legalized medical marijuana by approving the Oregon Medical Marijuna Program (OMMP), drawing a line in the sand between federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, and state law, which hence-forth protects the prescription of medical cannabis by doctors and the use of marijuana for patients registered with OMMP. Like its 1998 predecessor, Measure 74 has become a hub of controversy.Marijuana activists champion the measure as an aggressive piece of policy that would meet a public need. Meanwhile, opponents attack the proposal as ill-conceived with hidden costs and negative implications for law enforcement. Many involved in the debate agree that the current medical marijuana program has allowed abuse, but consensus ends there.Robert Wolfe, spokesperson for the Measure 74 campaign, said if passed, the measure would create a limited number of closely regulated dispensaries and growers, licensed into existence by the state. He emphasized that taxes on growers and distributors would pay for the program and excess revenue would be redistributed into the community like other excess funds that come from nonprofits. He praised the measure for its thorough attention to detail and accused opponents of spreading disinformation."It's far superior to California and Colorado's programs, who set up dispensaries without appropriate regulation or oversight," Wolfe said. "On the other side, New Mexico, set up too few dispensaries, so patients have to drive a long way only to find out there's no product there. Measure 74 would be the model for the nation."Sgt. Erik Fisher recently criticized Measure 74 as unclear and potentially troubling from a law-enforcement standpoint."(If passed), Measure 74 would impact enforcement," Fisher said. "Right now, the way it is written, there are some things that conflict with the current OMMP, which would obviously cause problems for the state's 36 district attorneys."For many supporters, the scope of the debate often spirals into the larger issue of decriminalizing weed altogether due to its medicinal benefits and its relative harmlessness in comparison to harder drugs, pharmaceuticals and intoxicants.But opponents have specific beef with the measure. A high profile incident involving the murder of two marijuana dispensary workers in California made national news, and many of those who are anti-Measure 74 voice concern that similar crimes would occur in Oregon if the measure were passed.However, the Colorado Springs' Police Department admitted it had been conducting research into correlations between marijuana dispensaries and criminal activity in the city and had found none. Colorado and California are both states that allow marijuana dispensaries to operate."Whenever we have big turnouts, democrats and progressive policies always win," Wolfe said. "It's time for medical marijuana to come out of the shadows into the storefront."Source: Oregon Daily Emerald (U of Oregon, OR Edu)Author: Ian Geronimo, News ReporterPublished: October 14, 2010Copyright: 2010 Oregon Daily EmeraldContact: letters dailyemerald.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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