Pubdate: Sun, 15 Dec 2013
Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times (OR)
Copyright: 2013 Lee Enterprises
Authors: Matt Bechtel and Greg Bechtel
Note: Brothers Matt and Greg Bechtel operate Albany Alternative 
Health Solutions,


We'd like to thank Mr. Odegard and Mr. Hall for their outstanding 
article in the Dec. 1 edition of the Democrat-Herald and Gazette-Times.

While not affiliated, we do wish the gentlemen they referenced in 
Corvallis the best of luck with their dispensary project.

We cannot, however, allow the letter to the paper from law 
enforcement officials to stand ("Don't let Oregon turn into 
California," Dec. 1).

We have tried repeatedly to work with law enforcement to address 
their concerns and ensure dispensaries operating in Albany set the 
standard for professionalism, safety and compliance.

We expect to be held under scrutiny and will not deviate from the 
letter and intent of the law while providing patients safe access, 
not profiting from selling marijuana.

Law enforcement's response continues to be smokers of medical 
marijuana are alcoholic, fraudulent drug-abusers with potential 
mental problems, irresponsible lifestyles, and no chronic illnesses.

We don't understand why, as this simply isn't the case. Consider a 
few of their key points:

"'Substantial pain' is the nebulous medical condition listed." Is law 
enforcement saying it is dubious that patients asking to receive pain 
medication check the box "pain"? Consider that 15,368 Oregon Medical 
Marijuana Program patients (26 percent) cite "persistent muscle 
spasms, including but not limited to those caused by MS," in addition 
to checking the box for "substantial pain." Misrepresentation of 
facts does not further law enforcement's argument, and patient 
applications have nothing to do with dispensaries.

"The average user of smoked medical marijuana has no chronic illness 
. ." What credentials does law enforcement have that make them 
qualified to dispute patients' physicians? Remember, you cannot get a 
card without a medical doctor's recommendation. It is a long, 
expensive process that includes registering your personal information 
with the state. According to law enforcement, marijuana is already 
readily available on a thriving black market without the red tape of 
getting an OMMP card, so why bother lying to put yourself on a list 
that's available to law enforcement? All that aside, this also has 
nothing to do with dispensaries.

"... with a history of alcohol and drug abuse." The "average" person 
who has registered for an OMMP card is not only a fraud but also a 
drug addict and alcoholic?! Ignoring the obviously offensive nature 
of this claim, it still just makes no sense. You can't even get a 
card if you've been convicted within the last five years.

Anecdotally, among the hundreds of people we've met over the years 
with the OMMP, we have never met an alcoholic or drug addict, 
including a marijuana addict. According to a 1999 Federal Institute 
of Medicine study, less than 10 percent of those who try marijuana 
meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32 percent of 
tobacco and 15 percent of alcohol users do 
( This 
still has nothing to do with dispensaries

Fear-mongering, fact-deficient arguments do nothing to further the 
conversation. We aren't arguing the benefits or risks of marijuana 
(that conversation stopped in 1998), we just want a safe place to 
acquire our voter- and doctor-approved medication under the scrutiny 
of law enforcement. Why does law enforcement continue to demand 
dispensaries operate as speakeasies?

There is a better way and we welcome the day law enforcement wants to 
be professionals and address the real issues. Prohibition of legal 
organizations that welcome oversight encourages black markets.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom