Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2010 The Mail Tribune
Note: Only prints LTEs from within it's circulation area, 200 word count limit
Author: Damian Mann, Mail Tribune
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Christine McGarvin moved to Medford three years ago from Texas, then
found herself traveling to Portland to a clinic that helped her
navigate the state process to get medical marijuana for Hepatitis C,
fibromyalgia and a disability from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now, the 50-year-old, who holds a master's degree in science and
social work, is writing a book on the history of medical marijuana in
Oregon, serves on an 11-member advisory board for the Oregon Medical
Marijuana Program and is part of Oregon Green Free, a resource service
for medical marijuana.

McGarvin also teaches classes in preparing marijuana tinctures and
cooking cannabis, working closely with clinics and advocates.

She is a supporter of Initiative 28, which would create a system of
licensed dispensaries and producers that would take some of the
vagueness out of the current law. Proponents hope to get the
initiative on the November ballot.

Many of the patients she has seen are in their 60s or older and suffer
from brain cancer, crippling arthritis and other diseases. They turn
to marijuana but often don't want the high or buzz the drug can produce.

"Most of them don't want to smoke," she said.

Her husband used to take eight pain pills a day for osteoarthritis and
herniated disks. Now he takes about 1 tablespoon a day of a tincture
of marijuana.

Most medical marijuana users average about 1 ounce of dried marijuana
a week, she said.

McGarvin said she knows of one indoor grower who asks patients for a
$50 monthly donation that covers the supplies and electricity to grow
the plant. The grower, who also works with another grower, produces
about six pounds of marijuana annually for five patients.

At $50, she said, "That's nowhere close to being reimbursed for the

McGarvin said she supports Initiative 28, which would create a
controlled system of producers and dispensaries for medical marijuana.

Under the initiative, each dispensary would have to pay a $2,000
license fee and a 10 percent tax on gross sales.

Dispensaries would be subject to regulations and inspections by the
Department of Human Services and would also have to keep records,
maintain security and follow local zoning laws. Employees would have
to pass criminal background checks.

Producers would have to pay a $1,000 license fee and the 10 percent
tax. Any registered patient would be able to shop at any dispensary,
and dispensaries would be able to purchase their supplies from any
licensed producer. All producers and dispensary employees would have
to pass criminal background checks. All activities would be subject to
health department regulation and inspections.

McGarvin said the initiative would help medical marijuana patients as
well as local police departments.

Sheriff Mike Winters said the current law has so many loopholes and so
much ambiguity that it has become very frustrating for law

On the surface, he said he would welcome some of the provisions of
Initiative 28 by creating more of a regulatory process for the growing
and purchasing of medical marijuana.

"It sounds like they're trying to clean it up," he

Winters doesn't know whether the law goes far enough in protecting
homeowners from unwanted smells associated with growing and smoking.

"I think we need to develop some system that protects homeowners who
don't want a grower next to them," he said.

Winters isn't sure whether the initiative has enough teeth in it to go
after those who abuse the system.

He said he believes many growers are using medical marijuana laws to
grow crops that aren't in all cases benefiting patients.

Winters said he is worried about abuses of the system, but also can
see the benefits of marijuana for some medical conditions.

"I have no problem, quite frankly, with people who have legitimate
needs and they find that a legitimate answer to those needs is medical
marijuana," he said.


Complaints received by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program

March-December 2008, January-June 2009,Total

- - Grower selling or charging 16, 6, 22

- - Grower not providing medication 13, 7, 20

- - Other problems with growers 5, 0, 5

- - Complaints about clinics charging or selling 6, 3, 9

- - Application form changed or patient signed blank form at clinic 10, 1, 11

- - Other problem at clinic 10, 3, 13

- - Complaints about OMMP or Oregon law 14, 6, 20

- - Complaints about other cardholders 9, 0, 9

- - Complaints from regular citizens about cardholders 5, 3, 8

- - Complaints from law enforcement 3, 1, 4

- - Complaints from physicians 0, 1, 1

Total 91, 31, 122
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D