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Jobs Watch: Marijuana measure makes ballot

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Ben Jacklet
Friday, July 16, 2010

The Secretary of State's office has announced that I-28, the medical marijuana dispensary initiative, has qualified for the November 2 ballot.

Organizers of the I-28 campaign turned in 130,702 signatures, 85,848 of which turned out to be valid, narrowly exceeding the required number of 82,769 valid signatures. A separate campaign to legalize marijuana and sell it through state-run liquor stores went nowhere.

The idea behind I-28 is to allow people to set up nonprofit dispensaries for selling marijuana to people holding medical marijuana cards. The system would be overseen by the state health department.

Such a system would almost certainly result in a gold rush to tap into the growing market for legal weed, which has been lucratively exploited in California and Colorado. Marijuana is the nation's largest cash crop, and any move to update regulations controlling how it is grown and sold will create opportunities within Oregon's already sizable marijuana business (see the "by the numbers" chart to the left). Just because an operation is a nonprofit doesn't mean it can't bring in big money. The dispensaries also would bring new revenue into state government from license fees.

On the other hand, they could also create new challenges for law enforcement officers already overwhelmed with medical marijuana scams where growers cross the line between legal and illegal sales and produce way more bud than they are legally allowed, selling the excess for illicit profit.

The transition could be messy. It also may be inevitable. The Obama Administration has pledged not to crack down on medical marijuana, and history has shown that given the opportunity to liberalize marijuana laws, Oregon voters will do so, with each new vote bringing the state closer to legalization. In an Oregon Business poll conducted in May, more than 80% of voters favored legalizing marijuana.

Ben Jacklet is managing editor of Oregon Business.




0 #1 Medical LettuceNitwit 2010-07-16 14:46:54
Can't stop something that grows from the ground up. My only pet peeve are those who illegally sell medical marijuana that is legally obtained from their user card. Selling and smoking it in broad daylight, when there are kids around! No class! Just because medical will become legal, doesn't make it a free-for-all! I agree MJ is much less lethal and more safer than other types of drugs available (including prescription type) however, that argument does not justify becoming addicted to it. MJ is safer, but still needs regulation, just like any substance that is consumed....
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Anthony Johnson
0 #2 Compassion and Revenue= win-win for the stateAnthony Johnson 2010-07-16 15:06:13
This measure is clearly a win-win for the state. Oregon can show compassion for sick and disabled patients battling severe and debilitating medical conditions. Voters will be able to provide patients safe access through nonprofit dispensaries, similar to pharmacies, fund medical research and establish a fund to assist low-income and homebound patients.

Oregon voters will also be able to create jobs and generate revenue for the state. State-licensed producers and dispensaries will provide new jobs and pay the state licensing fees as well as quarterly sums based upon gross revenue.

Oregon patients battling cancer shouldn't have to wait for a harvest or turn to the black market when undergoing chemotherapy. Passing this measure will help patients suffering through disease, illness and disability while creating jobs and generating revenue. Clearly a win-win. Please vote YES this November.
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0 #3 rancher 2010-07-16 17:08:53
Over 3200 Oregon doctors have qualified patients for the medical marijuana program. Marijuana is a safe and effective medicine when used properly. If you or a loved one needed this medicine wouldn't you want to be able to buy it safely and conveniently and know exactly what you are getting?

The current law requiring patients to produce their own medicine needs improvement. This initiative creating a well regulated dispensary system makes sense.
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Kristen Gustafson
0 #4 I 28 will be good for OregonKristen Gustafson 2010-07-17 07:49:12
It gives us the first regulation of producers in the country.

This is an important distinction from other states.

No other state has legal, regulated producers of medical cannabis for sale.

Producers in Oregon will be subject to regulations, quarterly reporting, criminal background checks, inspections and fees, both up front for the permit, and quarterly as a percentage of receipts.

They may be subject to zoning, permits to prove electric equipment is up to code, safety rules and anything else DHS determines is necessary for producers, and dispensaries to run legally and safely in appropriate places in our communities.

The same is true for dispensaries. They will be regulated.

One thing I think we will see is many small businesses starting up doing things like preparing medicated baked goods, tinctures or body care products.

Many businesses could expand their services:

Weekly delivered meals might include medicated food for patients.

Cannabis oil therapeutic massage is wonderful for sore muscles and body pain.

Farmers could add medical cannabis to their crops.

There will be plenty of cannabis stalks for fiber or mosquito repellent or press board.

The possibilities are limited by our imaginations and collective creativity.

I appreciate OB suggesting the transition may be inevitable.

I suggest it is inevitable.

We know medical cannabis works. We have tens of thousands of medical cannabis patients in Oregon and the program is growing.

I 28 gives us tools to manage the growth and to meet the needs of the growing medical cannabis population in a regulated way with oversight from DHS.

It gives us research, and it will create a program to ensure safe access to medical cannabis patients in Oregon regardless of their ability to pay, it is entirely self funded (as is the current OMMP, through yearly patient fees) and will generate revenue for the State.

Most importantly, it gets the medical cannabis patients and their money out of the back alleys and from behind grocery stores, into a legitimate, regulated, inspected dispensary to access their cannabis medicine.

Safe medicine.

Food subject to health department regulations.

Workers subject to criminal background checks and penalties for violations.

Medical cannabis patients' money becomes part of the above ground economy. That helps all of us.

Please do support I 28.
It is good for business in Oregon.

Thank you for listening,
Kristen Gustafson
Portland, Oregon
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tim shafer
0 #5 sirteachyoutim shafer 2010-07-24 14:07:00
Oregon is such a progressive state always on the forefront of positive social change. This ballot measure makes good sense and I support it and hope you vote for it.
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