A Growing Demand
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A Growing Demand
Posted by CN Staff on October 03, 2010 at 06:27:47 PT
By Paul Fattig
Source: Mail Tribune
Oregon -- If Melanie Barniskis doesn't take her medicine each night, chances are she won't be able to walk the next day. "Without it, I can't get out of bed to get the day started," said Barniskis, 54, of Phoenix. "When there is a pain flare, it's as if someone is driving two red-hot pokers into my feet and lower calves."To ease the pain, Barniskis, a former 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher for the Bethel Police Department in Alaska, drinks a tincture of marijuana or munches a "medible" — a baked goodie containing pot.
Barniskis is one of more than 36,000 medical marijuana cardholders in Oregon and 4,000 in Jackson County who use marijuana to treat pain, nausea, cancer symptoms and other ailments.But Barniskis, who has been diagnosed with bilateral peripheral neuropathy, a condition that fills her lower extremities with acute pain, said the limitations in the current system make it difficult for her to meet her medical marijuana needs.That's why she supports Measure 74 on the Nov. 2 ballot, which would create a state-regulated supply system for adults through nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries. It would provide a backup in the event she runs out of her legal stash, she said."Last year I had a grower and harvested a pound and a half of usable marijuana in November — I've been eking it out to last until this year's harvest," she said, noting she's tried numerous other medicines with no relief and too many negative side effects.She's been using medical marijuana since moving to Southern Oregon two years ago. Her husband, Roger Blakesley, 58, who also has a medical marijuana card, is growing it for both of them this year."At least 30 percent of the people who have gotten (medical marijuana) cards are out of luck when they need to buy legal cannabis," she said. "So they get it off the street — the black market."Under Measure 74, medical marijuana dispensaries would be regulated by the Department of Human Services. Growers and dispensaries would pay a 10 percent fee on all income plus a $1,000 and $2,000 annual licensing fee, respectively, to fund the program. It also would provide assistance for low-income cardholders to obtain medical marijuana.Opponents worry the measure is too vague, leaving it up to administrators to decide the maximum number of dispensaries, penalties for infractions and record-keeping requirements. Nearly half the members of a state Citizens' Initiative Review panel worried the increased availability of marijuana would invite illegal activity and concluded that Measure 74 is a "thinly veiled attempt to legalize marijuana (and) has a high probability of being abused." To see the full report, go to: say the measure might not be perfect, but it addresses the major problem with the current system: lack of a reliable supply."Measure 74 is the only thing that is going to keep our medical marijuana law functioning as it should," Barniskis said. "Passage would ease up on that constant fear of running out of medicine. It would provide safe, reliable places for people to go for their medicine."Bob Wolfe of Oregon Healthcare Consulting, a patient advocacy group based in Portland, said the number of patients seeking legal marijuana for medicinal purposes in Oregon far exceeds the legal supply."This measure will definitely help patients who can't get medical marijuana now except through the black market," he said. "The last thing you want is grandma stricken with cancer buying from a gang member."Measure 74 proponents say the amount of legal weed being grown in the state is about 30 percent less than the demand by cardholders.Under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 1998, cardholders must grow their own medical marijuana or have it grown for them by a licensed grower. A legal grower may provide six mature marijuana plants, 18 starts or seedlings and 24 ounces of usable marijuana each for up to four people.With Measure 74, each dispensary or grower may possess 24 mature marijuana plants, 72 starts or seedlings and 6 pounds of usable marijuana. However, those amounts could be changed by administrative rule.Unlike a law enacted in California in 1996 that left licensing to local governments, Measure 74 specifically instructs the state to license and monitor dispensaries.The measure has been endorsed by the likes of former Oregon Supreme Court Justice and Gov. Betty Roberts, former Portland Police Chief and Mayor Tom Potter, and former federal prosecutor Kristine Olson, who was the U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon.It is supported by the Oregon chapter of National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Voter Power, Oregon Green Free and Pro-Oregon, all nonprofit marijuana advocacy groups.Anthony Johnson, a co-chief petitioner and co-author of the measure, says the central goal is to improve the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act."Having to turn to the black market is risky business for anyone, let alone a sick patient," he said. "Too many patients now are being forced to go without medical care."The program would also be self-funding, and it would generate millions in revenue for Oregon health programs," he added.The state agency would closely monitor and regulate the program, he said, adding that administrative adjustments would be made as needed with input from legislators and others.Back in Phoenix, Melanie Barniskis said she didn't ever anticipate she would be using marijuana for pain relief. Before moving to Alaska, she had been a high school English teacher in New Jersey.The problems with her lower extremities began in 2005 in Alaska when she developed deep sores that opened up on both feet, causing nerve damage, she said. The cause of the ailment was never specifically diagnosed, she said."They had me on all the regular narcotics available," she said. "But none of it was effective. And the side effects of some were worse than the actual pain."As the 9-1-1 operator for Bethel police for four years, she had to be alert, she said, noting that at night the emergency dispatcher did double duty, serving the Alaska state troopers. Bethel is a remote town about 400 air miles west of Anchorage at the mouth of the Yukon River."I couldn't work if my mind was fogged out," she said, referring to the side effects of pain pills prescribed by medical doctors. "At night, we covered an area about the size of Oregon."Because of health reasons, the couple moved to Southern Oregon, where she began researching the medicinal properties of marijuana. It provided the relief she sought, she said.Now they have a dozen marijuana plants growing in their backyard. Each one is tagged appropriately."We wanted to make sure everything is totally legal," she stressed, adding, "I never thought I'd be doing this. But the pain limits my mobility. The medicinal marijuana is extremely effective to stop the pain."The administrative assistant at Ashland Alternative Health said she consumes the medical pot each evening when she gets home from work."The evening is when the pain is at its worst," she said.Unless she takes her marijuana medication, the pain keeps her awake nights, making it impossible for her to work the next day, she said."I've gone from law enforcement to becoming a medicinal cannabis user," she said. "I've seen both sides. I can't deny there is abuse."But I've been converted into a complete believer because I know it alleviates my pain," she added.Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)Author: Paul FattigPublished: October 3, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Mail TribuneContact: letters mailtribune.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 04, 2010 at 13:43:14 PT
Related News From
Democratic Party of Oregon Endorses Measure 74, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries***By Michael Whitney Monday October 4, 2010  Good news for Oregon’s Measure 74, a ballot initiative that will regulate medical marijuana supplies in the state: the Democratic Party of Oregon gave its endorsement to the medical marijuana measure. From the Measure 74 press release:Oregon’s Measure 74, which regulates medical marijuana supplies, has earned the endorsement of state Democratic activists and officials.The Democratic Party of Oregon officially supports a “yes” vote on Measure 74. That position could help both Measure 74 and Democratic candidates and causes all over Oregon, supporters of the medical marijuana measure said.“Supporting Measure 74 is smart politics for Democrats this year,” said Sajo. “There may be nothing else on the statewide ballot this year with the potential to excite younger and progressive voters.”URL:
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Comment #4 posted by museman on October 04, 2010 at 09:35:22 PT
I hereby reluctantly endorse this measure here in Oregon. Reluctantly because this law ultimately favors the ones with resource -at least in terms of the growing- and I see a group of greedy businessmen replacing the current group of young urban greedy growers (yuggies?). The problem is in the greed and materialism.But, after just two seasons of having to deal with these young folks who really don't grasp the idea of 'medicine' because they are too full of piss and vinegar to realize the truth of it, I see the need. To them its just a fast, 'easy' (tho' some are finding out its not so 'easy' as all that) buck.The problem is that there are still some growers -mostly older, more experienced growers who have seen the changes, and understand the real situation, that will be left out of this measure simply because they aren't in the social club that will take up the reigns once the measure passes. I am one. I grow some of the finest bud in Oregon, since 1980. You could never buy my bud when I grew, because I grew for myself and my family and friends. I watched many people take advantage of prohibition, and make quite a bit of money- buying land, stuff, and becoming 'hippy land barons.'I have stated before that in most of my later years of smoking and growing, I treated cannabis as sacred, and as a sacrament, and did not believe in the buying and selling of it. That changed when I developed physical health issues that cannabis wonderfully mitigates, and I discovered first hand it's medicinal properties.As a medicine, it is a tradable/sellable commodity.As I watch my own 'providers' haggle and fight over the future value of their (my) crop and see that the motivation is all wrong. -they actually feel that we as patients, aren't the priority factor in their grow, but we are secondary to their profit. I ain't quote them; "All you guys do is get a card, we (the growers) spend all the money and do all the work!"Well, if I hadn't grown my own for so many years I might have bought it.Everything worth anything takes work, and I certainly remember one summer when I broke my foot, and I had to carry 5 gallon buckets of water up a half mile slope -on crutches- to water my garden. Now that is work! I agree. And a good crop takes a lot of attention and care, but having that garden pretty much literally in your back yard changes those dynamics greatly.So all you medical growers in Oregon who stand to lose all their fast cash if 74 passes; You have done it to yourselves. If you weren't so damn greedy, and actually provided for your patients first and made profit second, 74 might have been a bit more friendly to your scene.Hopefully all these california transplants who grow both here and there (because they have that fast cash) will vacate those overpriced rental properties (landlords cashing in) and the people who need places to live will be able to afford it once the rent falls on all those 'grow properties.'Its a step in a right direction, though it serves the Status Quo more than it serves the people.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on October 03, 2010 at 22:19:47 PT
CBS Radio Correspondent Howard Arenstein Busted
CBS Radio Correspondent Charged in Marijuana Case Clarence Williams, The Washington Post - Sunday, October 3 2010 A veteran CBS Radio News correspondent was arrested early Saturday on drug charges after police searched his Northwest Washington home and found marijuana plants growing in his yard, police said.Officers arrested Howard Arenstein, 60, and his wife, Orly Katz, 57, at their home in the 3500 block of T Street and charged them with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, police said.According to his biography on CBS News's Web site, Arenstein's wife, known professionally as Orly Azoulay, is a Washington correspondent for Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel's most widely circulated newspapers.Cont.
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Comment #2 posted by Had Enough on October 03, 2010 at 16:27:47 PT
Bong Show
The Bong Show is currently made up of three professional stand-up comics – Jeff Barrett, Steve Lazlow, and Johnny O. They focus on re-legalization of medical marijuana and industrial hemp. We need all of you to come out and show your support. We need a few volunteers to help collect signatures after the event.Oct. 3, 2010...8:00 PMLocation:SNAPPERS GRILL & COMEDY CLUB36657 U.S. Highway 19 NorthPalm Harbor, FL 34684Phone: 727-938-2027Website:***People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM)
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 03, 2010 at 06:30:16 PT
Three Related Articles From The Mail Tribune
What Will Happen if Measure 74 Passes?URL:*Marijuana Laborers See Advantages To State RegulationURL:*Proponent Expects Dispensaries Will Operate Under Specific RulesURL:
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