Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 2009
Source: Eugene Weekly (OR)
Copyright: 2009 Eugene Weekly
Author: Allan Erickson
Note: Allan Erickson of Eugene is a member of Law Enforcement Against 
Prohibition and the Drug Policy Forum of Oregon and a OMMP cardholder.
Cited: Oregon Medical Marijuana Program
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Even Olympic Gold Medal Winners Inhale

Even though Linn County finally chased Bill Conde out of Harrisburg,
that darn cannabis issue just won't go away. Whether you call it pot,
cannabis, hemp, ganja, weed or marijuana, the herb is here to stay.

So far 2009 looks to be a banner year for the cannabis folks. Consider
for instance that we now have a President of the United States who not
only admits inhaling but told us "that was the point." Consider also
that the recent outing of Michael Phelps as someone who knows which
end of a bong does what has just about blown the myth of the lazy
stoner out of the water.

As always, however, in the shadows lurk those who maintain their
loathing for the cannabis plant no matter what facts disprove their
prejudices. Dan Harmon operates under the guise of a man with Oregon
business and workplace safety in mind, but he and the group he
apparently guides -- Associated Oregon Industries -- want to test the
pee of every working Oregonian to make sure we aren't smoking any
unapproved plant matter. Oh, and while he is at it? Mr. Harmon also
wants to do away with the excellent Oregon Medical Marijuana Program
(OMMP). He thinks that the OMMP "says something about permissiveness
in this state, and we've got to stop this permissiveness."

Pot is a plant not of just a thousand uses but of literally tens of
thousands of uses -- a plant that has shadowed humanity since before
we even began recording our history. It is food, fuel, fiber,
medicine. It is also consumed for spiritual and, yes, recreational
reasons. But not many these days are shocked by a bit of pot smoking.
After all, 2009 has shown that peanuts kill more people than pot.
Heck, even record breaking Olympic gold medal winners smoke it. One of
the nice things about cannabis is that it is literally impossible to
physically overdose on pot.

Here in Oregon we still dance around the issue even though we all know
someone who smokes pot. I've met politicians, loggers, cowboys,
doctors, lawyers, carpenters etc., etc., who consume cannabis. It IS
safer than alcohol. A person can O.D. on booze, and we recently
witnessed the horrific reality that booze and driving kills. While no
one should drive under the influence of any substance that effects
perception and reaction, the driver on pot will sit at the stop sign
waiting for it to turn green. The drunk doesn't even see the stop sign.

Truly, the prohibition of pot is a scam of the highest order.
Prohibition is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy which creates the very
problems it is supposed to eliminate. If prohibition worked, would
cannabis now be the nation's number one agricultural commodity? If
prohibition worked, would Al Capone have become a millionaire?

There is no logic to pot's banning. No science, no fact or anything
resembling truth was ever presented when the government outlawed a
plant that had been a farm staple here since the very beginnings of
our new nation. What did serve as the foundation for laws prohibiting
pot were racial slurs and xenophobic scare-mongering. Which of course
naturally then begs the question of the legitimacy of those laws and
policies keeping pot illegal. The question no longer is "Should
cannabis be legal?" The more relevant question is "Why is cannabis

I'm all for safety and reducing harm. But I just have to point out to
Harmon and his cohorts that since Oregon began the OMMP, workplace
accidents have declined. I'm not claiming causation, I'm just
saying... I mean, after all, it was the DEA's own administrative law
judge, Francis Young, who in 1988 called cannabis "one of the safest
therapeutic substances known to man." Stress and fatigue are and
always have been the greatest threats to workplace safety. The
medicine a worker utilizes for health issues is a private matter
between a doctor and patient -- not the employer, not the government
and certainly not Dan Harmon.

The truth will be heard. Cannabis is indeed medicine, a very safe
medicine. Those who buried the study in 1974 showing cannabis'
potential as a cancer fighter have much pain and suffering to atone
for.  There are consequences for such deceitful abuse of government
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake