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Patients Gather as Legislature Proposes Changes to Oregon Medical Marijuana ProgramBonnie King and Michael Bachara Salem-News.com
Senate Bill 874 faces backlash from Veteran’s advocacy groups across the state.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Calling all Patients! Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholders will, once again, come together to defend the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) and fight for its expansion and advocates are asking for patients to come to the Capitol.
Tomorrow, April 14th, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. proposed Senate Bill 874 will be going through what is known as a "gut and stuff" session.
What's a "gut and stuff"? It's an opportunity to retain the framework of a bill and change what's within it. They will remove some or all of the text and insert entirely new language which, while it may change the nature of the bill completely, still falls under the measure’s "relating-to" clause.
According to the Oregon state website, as is, SB874:
While this language appears to be tabled, the hearing will be used to determine what other provisions to the OMMA might be worth moving forward with in the Senate. According to Jennifer Alexander with the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) 2012, this is an opportunity for patients to come forward and propose incremental changes that will benefit the broad spectrum of sick and ill citizens of Oregon.
One particularly overlooked group of patients (and potential patients) includes veterans. Advocates have been pushing for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to be added to the qualifying categories for the OMMP.
In March, countless activists testified about their concerns regarding proposed changes to Oregon's medical marijuana program, SB777.
One of them, disabled Oregon Veteran Casey Fermen, who has experienced the benefits of medical marijuana first hand proclaimed, "I don’t care how much of a man you are, when you go over there and see that stuff it does not leave your mind.
"I have extreme nightmares and trouble sleeping at night. The prescription meds they gave me only increased my nightmares or made it so I didn’t want to get up in the morning or start my day. I have seen ten-fold, from old to young, the benefits of the medical marijuana program."
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a type of severe anxiety disorder which can occur after witnessing or experiencing even one traumatic event, often that involves the threat of injury or death, so being in a war takes that to new levels- and can last a lifetime.
"Multiple deployments are producing massive amounts of PTSD which can be lethal by itself, but it also causes the troops to use alcohol, or become addicted to prescription drugs," said Dr. Phil Leveque.
"The best medicine was discovered long ago by thousands of troops. It is Marijuana. It is not dangerous and has never killed anybody in 4,000 plus years of use."
Speaking to Veterans, Sen. Monnes Andreson said, "I want to thank you for the service you that have given us by serving in the military. I am part of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. We have to take care of our veterans, and yes, PTSD is an extreme problem among so many veterans and I’m glad you put your story on the record."
"It is a concern that sometimes our servicemen come back and fall through the cracks. Anytime I see that happening, I’d like to be able to do something to help," concluded, Sen. Kruse.
This is a very crucial time to participate and have your voice heard in the legislative process. It is time to fight for the program that the Oregon voters chose to make into law.
Since its inception, the OMMP has been one of the only state programs in Oregon to remain completely self-sustaining, with surpluses transferred back to the Oregon general fund on a regular basis during its thirteen years, according to Oregon NORML member Michael Bachara.
Speak up when it matters the most, or come to more quietly support the cause, and witness the process in action. The hearing begins at 8:00 a.m. in room 343, in the Oregon State Capitol.
If you cannot attend the hearing, advocates ask that you please contact the committee members in the very near future.
Publisher Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and NIE/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.
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