Oregon: Big Names Line Up For And Against Pot Dispensaries


Graphic: Oregon Measure 74

​Oregon voters may notice this election that some big names are supporting Measure 74, a voter initiative that would approve state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

Radio listeners on Monday heard a new ad with the voice of former Portland mayor and police chief, Tom Potter, supporting the measure, reports Dan Tilkin at KATU News.
“But I do support Measure 74,” Potter says in the radio ad. “It regulates medical marijuana. That change is overdue. Since medical marijuana is legal, we need to regulate it.”
The measure would allow authorized patients to buy cannabis, so that they would no longer have to either grow their own, rely on a personal grower, or count on other patients with extra medical marijuana.

Photo: Oregon Measure 74

​”Too many patients do not have access to medical cannabis,” said Anthony Johnson, co-author of Measure 74. “Patients that are homebound, seriously ill — a patient who gets diagnosed with cancer and must undergo chemotherapy shouldn’t have to wait three months for harvest or have to turn to the black market.”
Opponents of Measure 74 claim it is an attempt to legalize marijuana and will somehow “open up more people to drug addiction.”
Predictably, all three major law enforcement associations in the state — the Oregon District Attorneys Association, the Oregon Sheriff’s Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police — staunchly oppose the measure.
“We’re at a crossroads of taking this drug to basically, legality,” said Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin, one of the most outspoken and obnoxious opponents of Measure 74.
“And when you legalize something like this it means more abuse,” Sheriff Bergin claimed.

Photo: MPP
Alice Ivany: “The system in Measure 74 would be a dramatic, possibly life-saving change for me and other patients”

​”If Measure 74 works effectively like we believe it does, it may very well help lead to legalization in the future, but that’s a debate for another time and Measure 74 should be debated on its own merits,” Johnson countered.
Many patients who qualify under Oregon’s medical marijuana law are entitled to use cannabis but have difficulty accessing a consistent, quality supply of their medicine, according to Kate Zawidzki, legislative assistant at the Marijuana Policy Project.
“The system in Measure 74 would be a dramatic, possibly life-saving change for me and other patients,” said patient Alice Ivany. “We could go to regulated clinics to get our medicine, knowing that the supply is produced with standards for consistent quality.”
More than 36,000 people — about one percent of all Oregonians — are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program. California, Colorado, New Mexico and Maine already have state-licensed dispensaries, with more to come next year in New Jersey and the District of Columbia.