Pubdate: Sun, 01 Dec 2013
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2013 Lee Enterprises
Authors: Doug Marteeny, Tim Mueller, Bruce Riley, Mario Lattanzio, 
Jeff Lynn, Frank Stevenson


If you were to take a walk with your family past storefronts in 
Venice Beach, California, you would likely pass by a number of 
"medical" marijuana dispensaries.

You would be solicited by a dispensary employee asking, "Are you 
feeling well today? Would you like to feel better?"

These peddlers have been witnessed enticing passersby into their 
establishments where they can meet with a "doctor," receive a 
prescription and buy marijuana on the spot.

These are nothing more than drug dealers using a medical system as a 
shield. That is California's reality. It should not be ours.

When the medical marijuana program was introduced in Oregon, the 
voters were told in 1998 that maybe 500 to 1,000 people would qualify 
for medical marijuana cards. There are now more than 58,000 
cardholders in Oregon. "Substantial pain" is the nebulous medical 
condition listed on 56,572 of those marijuana card applications.

The average user of smoked medical marijuana has no chronic illness 
and is a white male in his mid-30s with a history of alcohol and drug 
abuse. It is clear that a lot of people just want to get high and are 
abusing Oregon's medical marijuana system to do so.

Society will pay a price for such abuse. Marijuana use during 
adolescence is directly linked to the onset of major mental illness, 
including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and psychosis.

We see abusers choosing pot over family, school, friends and health 
every day. Abusers make poor choices that lead to unplanned 
pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, academic failures, and 
car crashes that injure or kill. All of these consequences exact a 
heavy toll on taxpayers.

Cardholders don't need easier access to marijuana. Oregon already 
ranks sixth nationally for marijuana use.

Oregon voters have clearly and repeatedly told lawmakers they do not 
want dispensaries in their neighborhoods. In 2004, Measure 33, a 
dispensary measure, was rejected by 35 of Oregon's 36 counties - with 
Multnomah as the lone county desiring dispensaries. Unable to take no 
for an answer, the pro-pot coalition submitted Measure 74 to the 
voters in 2010. Once again, it was soundly rejected by all counties 
but one (Multnomah).

Following an all-too-common trend, the 2010 legislature ignored the 
will of the voters and passed a last-second bill allowing for 
dispensaries throughout all 36 Oregon counties.

As law enforcement leaders of Linn County, we see firsthand the abuse 
of Oregon's medical marijuana system. Salem continues to turn a blind 
eye to these abuses. That does not portend a positive dispensary system future.

We are concerned that California's drug-dealing dispensary system 
will be duplicated here. We encourage government leaders and citizens 
throughout Linn County to proactively look for ways to reduce the 
impact of dispensaries upon our communities.

Doug Marteeny, Linn County district attorney

Tim Mueller, Linn County sheriff

Bruce Riley, Linn County undersheriff

Mario Lattanzio, chief of police, Albany

Jeff Lynn, chief of police, Sweet Home

Frank Stevenson, chief of police, Lebanon
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom