Bill Would Give State Control of Pot Grown

  Bill Would Give State Control of Pot Grown

Posted by CN Staff on March 12, 2009 at 05:36:27 PT
By Bill Kettler, Mail Tribune 
Source: Mail Tribune 

Oregon -- A bill introduced in Salem Wednesday would put the state in the marijuana-growing business. Rep. Ron Maurer, R-Grants Pass, said House Bill 3247 would address problems in the medical-marijuana program and ensure patient safety."The system we have currently is in shambles," Maurer said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Salem. He said marijuana grown for medical use has been diverted to illegitimate uses, and some medical-marijuana growers have had their plants stolen. Others may be using cannabis laced with herbicides or toxic chemicals.
The bill would eliminate private growing of medical marijuana and direct the state to establish and operate a marijuana growing site. The state would distribute cannabis to pharmacies, where people who are enrolled in the medical-marijuana program could buy it. A designated primary caregiver also could buy cannabis for someone who could not travel to a pharmacy.The bill imposes a tax of $98 an ounce on the marijuana to cover the state's costs of production and distribution. Maurer acknowledged that the $98 tax would anger some people who currently grow their own medical marijuana and others who are struggling with limited income.He said the bill is a "starting point" in a conversation about how to manage medical marijuana, not an attempt to eliminate it. Nearly 21,000 Oregonians are now enrolled in the medical marijuana program approved by voters in 1998 by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent."The voters have spoken," he said, and approved medical marijuana. "That question is not for debate."He said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement last week that the federal government would leave it to the states to regulate medical marijuana provided an opening to discuss the issue.Holder's policy statement "clearly changes people's views on how to handle this," he said. "Everybody has been hands-off (about developing a state policy) because they've been afraid the feds would come down on them."John Sajo, a medical marijuana advocate, agreed that Holder's announcement marks a "game-changing event" in federal drug policy, but he said Maurer's proposal is unworkable because of the way it's drafted.Sajo said the bill allows pharmacists to opt out of dispensing marijuana, and few will want to dispense medical marijuana, which is still a crime under federal law.Sajo is executive director of Voter Power, an organization that lobbies for "reasonable, fair and effective cannabis laws and policies." Voter Power volunteers helped pass Oregon's medical marijuana law in 1998. Voters rejected their 2004 proposal to create distribution centers for medical marijuana.Sajo said many people who want to grow their own medical marijuana would not be deterred by the measure, which would recriminalize all private marijuana growing. He also questioned whether a state-run growing site that would effectively be a monopoly would produce the quality of medical marijuana that people have come to expect."If government producing medicine is a good idea, why don't we get our aspirin that way?" he said.Voter Power is proposing its own dispensary system in SB 812, which would allow licensed and regulated producers and nonprofit dispensaries to supply medical marijuana to patients.Neither SB 812 nor HB 3247 have been assigned to a legislative committee.Maurer noted the proposal has support in both parties. Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, joined Maurer and two other Republicans, Chris Harker of Beaverton and Jim Thompson of Dallas, in introducing the bill."We're going to build a reasonable coalition," Maurer said, "and come up with a viable alternative."Note: Grants Pass lawmaker says medical-marijauna program is in 'shambles'.Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)Author: Bill Kettler, Mail TribunePublished: March 12, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Mail TribuneContact: letters mailtribune.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #15 posted by greenmed on March 12, 2009 at 22:16:17 PT

Does anybody know whether any states charge taxes on prescriptions? Tax exemption on Rxs is one way the State can help out those with disabilities if only in token fashion. Why would politicians single-out cannabis for a tax... perhaps they don't consider it to be real medicine., the proposal won't go anywhere, but it will get an airing in committee."When we have bipartisan support like that for a bill," says Geoff Sugerman, spokesman for House Speaker Dave Hunt, "it is typical that it will at least get the courtesy of a hearing."Maurer hopes so. He says liberal Democrats like the idea, because they don't mind taxes and they want to fix the system. And Republicans?"The most conservative people I've talked to stop and say, 'I don't like the taxation, but I can tax that.' "
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 12, 2009 at 20:40:23 PT

Related Article and Video From
Medical Pot Users Concerned About Possible State Control Thursday, March 12, 2009URL:
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 12, 2009 at 17:42:23 PT

News Article From Raw Story
'Socialize' It? Oregon May Grow, Tax and Sell Medical MarijuanaBy Stephen C. WebsterPublished: Thursday March 12, 2009  
 Submitted legislation would impose $98-per-ounce tax on cannabis.URL:
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 12, 2009 at 14:17:21 PT

Video: On Oregon Growing Medical Marijuana
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Comment #11 posted by EAH on March 12, 2009 at 12:35:41 PT:

Why is cannabis singled out for nonprofit status? For some reason whenever the subject of production is brought up by these folks, they always fuss about that it must be nonprofit. Why? No other medicines or herbal remedies are, so why is it so important for this one?
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Comment #10 posted by e-dub on March 12, 2009 at 12:22:56 PT:

A question
So I don't know where else to post to get results but read:I myself have been clinically diagnosed with depression for the past 5 years. I'm sure some of you can relate to the effects it has on a person, but for me it leaves me entirely unmotivated in school, around the house, and with a general feeling of hopelessness. I thought I was going to have to deal with the anxiety and problems the entire lack of motivation caused me for the rest of my life until I started smoking cannabis, illegally. Once I discovered the humbling effect the drug had on my mind, instead of being cynical and depressive all the time I became upbeat. I began doing my work around the house, completing school work ahead of the deadlines, and became an all around blissful and happy person. Sure, all my problems didn't just disappear but the weed gave me a way to look at my problems from a distance and motivated me to overcome what my internal chemicals were discouraging me from mentally overcoming.A month ago I was caught by a local sheriff's department with two ounces of weed and since then have had to be entirely clean. I spent two days in a jail with violent criminals, drunks, trespassers, robbers and the like, and what a learning experience it was! Up until this unfortunate incident I had no previous record, not even a traffic violation. To be in jail with criminals - people who robbed others at gun point, people who had repeatedly driven under the influence of alcohol, people who had been dealing heroin or other hard drugs, etc. A big distinction I noticed: these individuals, not all of them violent, had really put other people's health and safety at risk by committing the offense or offenses which had landed them in jail. What was I, a non-violent depressive pot smoker who was dealing weed to my friends to smoke for free (because everyone knows, free weed is the immediate and most rewarding benefit for selling) and not making ANY sized profit other than what i was smoking, doing in jail with people who had actually put other people's safety and health at risk?Enough said about that, I am writing to ask a question:
What can I do to deal with the depressive symptoms that are slowing taking my life over again without resorting to smoking again? I see a therapist who knows I am against synthetic chemicals such as Prozac (God knows, I was prescribed that stuff), Wellbutrin, and the who list of chemicals which the government would rather have me buy to quell these feelings of hopelessness, entire lack of motivation, and the occasional loss of appetite which would strike me for days at a time? Please please please any suggestions would be great.Even if you would just like to talk, I can guarantee I would love to as well.Peace, one love
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Comment #9 posted by fight_4_freedom on March 12, 2009 at 10:30:19 PT

I know I certainly wouldn't want to 
consume any cannabis that the government grew. God knows what they would try to poison us with.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 12, 2009 at 10:28:08 PT

I bet Linda thinks you are an angel like we all do you silly boy you. LOL!My angel sprouts horns when I'm cornered! LOL!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 12, 2009 at 10:26:05 PT

Picture of Mississippi Marijuana Farm
This sure doesn't look like it has been nurtured very well.
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on March 12, 2009 at 10:11:00 PT

Hey, I'm liking this idea!
The gov grows it. I buy at $95 sell at $250 in Idaho and California. Let them do the work, I'll make the profits. Kool!Local street price could be $200. maybe?You know, just like some folks already do with their prescription meds. If you use cannabis but get a pain prescription from your doc, sell the prescription and use the cannabis. Just playing angels advocate here!
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on March 12, 2009 at 09:51:41 PT

The state government is going into the organic gardening business? Good luck. I don't think a government anywhere has succeeded at growing decent cannabis. It didn't go well for Canada or Netherlands governments. And we've all seen pictures and heard reports of the stems and seeds the US government sends out to those in the Compassionate Use program.The problems:
"It is diverted to illegitimate use." How will the Govt growing it help that issue?"Some growers have had their plants stolen." This is a product of prohibition and the current laws. Rarely are one's tomatoes or home brew keg stolen. This is a problem of theft, which is a crime, not a problem of cannabis. We can't eliminate all goods that are of interest to thieves."Laced with herbicides and toxic chemicals." I don't think growers should use chemical fertilizers or herbicides, although they are used in vast quantities on our food crops every day. Again, cannabis is not the problem here.Oh my, the program is in a shambles you say? I don't think it is the medical marijuana program that is in shambles. It is our drug policies and prohibition of cannabis that is in shambles. 
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on March 12, 2009 at 08:36:23 PT

It is dark and damp up there!
Some of these republican idealoges just don't get it.Cannabis is the number one cash crop in Oregon. If they were to succeed in diminishing the annual harvest, many small communities would fold! They would have NO commerce what so ever. Cannabis is almost the sole support for many So. Oregon communities.I can see why they would want to jump on the band wagon now after persecuting the herb farmers for all these many years but their involvement would upset the apple cart to be sure.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on March 12, 2009 at 08:26:15 PT

govt grown!
So true - can they point to even one government that has ever grown good medicinal cannabis?Let alone Republican-grown cannabis! this guy is obviously trying to reduce access.It's US and state governments that are in shambles right now, not medical cannabis growers in Oregon, they're some of the best in the world. Think about it.
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Comment #2 posted by Storm Crow on March 12, 2009 at 06:18:52 PT

I imagine.......
It would "improve things" just as much as Canadian Government produced cannabis is "better" than what is available commercially! The Canadian government, if you don't know, produces "schwag". Stemmy, low quality schwag...and I have seen it called much worse than "schwag". And then there is the cannabis that U of Miss produces- again, from all reports.... blenderized schwag. And we have ALL seen how well our government has managed just about everything else! This is nothing more than another scheme to rip off medical cannabis users! Otherwise we would be allowed to choose! Home grown or government grown! You know who I trust to grow me my good, clean, organic cannabis? ME!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 12, 2009 at 05:43:32 PT

State May Take Over Growing Medical Pot

Lawmakers say House bill would improve public safety.By Tracy Loew • Statesman Journal March 12, 2009URL:
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