|Democratic Party of Oregon|
The campaign for Measure 74, which would legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, announced Wednesday that they have received support for their cause from the Democratic Party of Oregon.
Co-author and chief petitioner Anthony Johnson said the endorsement will help his campaign by getting the word about to voters that the measure is on the ballot and that it “further legitimizes medical marijuana as medicine,” reports Sarah Ross of The Oregon Politico.
Of course, the usual suspects, chiefly including law enforcement, were quick to criticize the ballot measure. Bruce McCain, an attorney who is also a retired captain from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, claimed the measure could be “political cover” for legislation that would further decriminalize marijuana.
“I’m just trying to give an objective analysis of what 74 is going to do, and 74 is simply the next step to Prop 19,” claimed McCain, citing the California voter initiative that could legalize and regulate adult recreational marijuana use in that state if it passes in November.
But Johnson called the measure a “stand alone,” in that it should be debated on its individual merits.
|Friends of Measure 74 of Oregon|
”This is simply a medical marijuana provision to help low-income patients get access to medical marijuana, as opposed to any legalization measure or marijuana measure,” he said, denying that it could be a gateway to legalization.
The measure, which would allow for the licensing and regulation of medical cannabis dispensaries, would designate the newly created Oregon Health Authority as the regulatory body overseeing the dispensaries and their producers, Johnson said.
Dispensaries and producers would be required to pay fees to the state to fund health programs and medical research studies, Johnson said.
The dispensaries would be set up by nonprofit organizations, be required to have a security plan, and would be prohibited from locating within 1,000 feet of a school or in residential areas.
Meanwhile, former cop McCain, somehow suddenly becoming a medical expert, questioned the medicinal value of cannabis, saying the federal government has not yet approved the drug for medical purposes, which would allow it to be distributed at pharmacies.
“There’s a reason for that, and that reason is that the federal government hasn’t agreed to that premise,” McCain said.
Johnson said the measure would add a “regulated supply system” to help medical marijuana patients in Oregon have a safe supply of medicine, as opposed to growing their own or “risk[ing]their well-being on the black market.”
“First and foremost, it allows compassionate, safe access for Oregon medical marijuana patients,” Johnson said.
Not only will the revenue generated for the state fund medical research and Oregon health programs, but it will also create “thousands of jobs,” according to Johnson.
Measure 74 has received majority support from Citizen’s Initiative Review panelists. There appears to be no organized opposition to the measure; two committees are registered through the Secretary of State’s office as supporting it.