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Jan-10-2010 14:40printcomments

Medford Chief Uses Public Funds to Fight Oregon's Medical Marijuana Law

Ignorance is a powerful weapon.

Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen
Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen
Photo: City of Medford

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen has some explaining to do. The chief used the city's Neighborhood Watch Nov., 2009 Bulletin (PDF) to go on a rant against medical cannabis (marijuana) and Oregon's OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program).

The chief is of course welcome to his opinion.

He is not welcome, of course, to use his city's resources to go on a rant based on opinion (and not fact) about an issue regarding citizens' health care. The chief says, "This commentary is not intended to debate the use of marijuana as a medicine."

He then follows that up with "[t]his is not about medicine, it is about profit."

It is an incredible stretch. We know that foreign cartels operate in our forests and wildlands. Nearly 1/4 million plants were seized last year in Oregon by law enforcement.

Some of these grow operations number in the thousands of plants. The growers destroy habitat, litter and pollute our precious wild waters with chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

These cartel grow operations exist, just as bootleggers' stills did during alcohol prohibition, because of Prohibition. It is the prohibition of cannabis that has driven the hardy plant's out of control black market production.

Cannabis is now our nation's # 1 agricultural commodity. Plant seizures in California number in the millions! The cartels are even using our precious and treasured National Parks for their illicit plantations.

I'm sorry Chief Schoen but it's Prohibition driving the desire for profit by criminals, not the OMMP. The OMMP represents our state's first baby steps in regulating cannabis.

The actual amount of abuse under the program is minuscule compared to the plunder of our forests and the profits from street sales funding criminal syndicates.

If Oregonians had a lick of sense they'd quit all the fuss-budgeting over medical cannabis. According to some we can assume about 10% of our population smokes cannabis at some point during a year - that makes nearly 400,000 Oregonian cannabis consumers.

How many industries would mind an in-state customer base of that size? Especially for a consumable where demand is steady... A very real question is "Why does capitalism work for everything but pot?" We face a choice in Oregon, and they'll be coming at us this fall on our ballots.

We can say to hell with the cartels and gain control of a massive industry worth millions of dollars a year in sales through regulation, or we can continue to grant the cartels free reign in our wild lands and all the profits.

There are options including non-profit dispensaries -- like I-28 -- that provide the growers and the whole of the production chain a chance to earn a legitimate wage and cover costs and provides patients a reliable, steady, approved and quality controlled source.

There may even be options for plain old legalization (which in truth would be re-legalization and the choice protecting the most Oregonians).

Chief Schoen overstepped his bounds here and he needs either to stop spreading rumor and mocking one of humanity's oldest agricultural staples and a safe and reliable (and ancient) medicine or he needs to provide proof of his claims in a public forum.

There are many in Oregon, several of whom live in or near Medford, who would love the opportunity to publicly debate the issue. But prohibitionists are hesitant to face us. Would Chief Schoen care to engage in such a debate?

The laws against cannabis are just so much barnyard manure. These laws are founded almost across the board on bigotry and xenophobia. It's a matter of history and it's all there for anyone interested to see. The escalation in the War On Pot came under Richard Nixon's administration because he hated hippies and didn't trust the Jews.

The science of cannabis is something different. Even when the government tried its damnedest to prove it was harmful they found instead it was a cancer fighter. (see : Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew In '74)

The government even own the patent to "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" Now it may just be me but I'd sure hate to be among those who have been an instrument in the suppressing of an effective anti-cancer agent for 35 years. Chief Schoen may not like cannabis, but he still doesn't get a voice in our health care. I don't call a cop when I have health issues and I don't call a doctor when I need police help.

And if I want cannabis, should I have to rely on the black market, knowing I'm funding a new generation of Al Capones? (Re-) Legalization is the answer. Prohibition is the problem. And Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen needs to stick to chasing bad guys and protect and serve his community. Spreading more Reefer Madness is so just not in his job description.


After receiving training as a photographer and photographic systems repairman in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War period, Allan Erickson went on to work behind the camera as a photojournalist (California Advocate, Fresno, CA), a commercial products table-top photographer (Gottschalks advertising, second camera behind Richard Eissler), and he has photographed weddings, anniversary celebrations, political meet-and-greets, concerts, baseball games (currently working for the Eugene Emeralds, the San Diego Padres' short season single A affiliate, as their team photographer), school events, kids' soccer, portraits and my favorite venue, nature.

More than anything, Allan Erickson cares about the health of Oregon and he works closely on drug policy issues as a member of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Send Allan an email at this address: Visit Allan's blog as this link:

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cop hater July 10, 2010 11:41 am (Pacific time)

i think ppl who want to take ppls happyness shood go to hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oregon Reader January 11, 2010 6:55 pm (Pacific time)

I have smoked marijuana, although I do not now. I have seen it as rampant in Florida, in Hawaii, Texas and California, Oregon and Washington -- all states where I lived for some time. Prohibition has done nothing except will out jails and prisons. If it were legal, the black market that allows Mexican drug syndicates to profit would be virtually eliminated overnight. This is a plant that grows very easily. Just wishing it away does nothing. Spending HUNDREDS of BILLIONS has done NOTHING to stop the flow.

MaryB January 11, 2010 12:05 pm (Pacific time)

Like in the times of segregation, another example of "law abiding" citizens making things ugly for those of a different stripe. Take a good look at yourself and see what has been done to keep you "good" folks feeling good about you. Shame

jimmy January 11, 2010 10:07 am (Pacific time)

Hahaha, they took the link to down that months news letter on their main page, now why would they do that? October is there, December is there, but no November... try:

jimmy January 11, 2010 9:58 am (Pacific time)

broken link to the city's Neighborhood Watch

Miracle Herb January 11, 2010 9:48 am (Pacific time)

Me and my Dad argued several times over which was worse for you,alcohol or Marijuana.My Dad died at 68 because of alcohol,Case Closed.I agree with Allan Erickson 100%,best article I've read in a long time!

Angry East Coaster January 11, 2010 6:23 am (Pacific time)

Except ALL of your illegal dope ends up fueling the drug trade and gang activity in other States. You lack of care over the issues concerning the majority is appalling.

EDITOR: And your ignorance is appalling as well. Criminalization has caused the black market to exist. Please do some research.

Oregon Reader January 11, 2010 4:59 am (Pacific time)

Tony Ramone, I think you prove my belief that there are negative people who will attack anyone! I hope you are not so discriminatory while on the job. Why even read the story if you are going to waste people's time with vitriol? Civility is a mark of maturity.

Tony Ramone January 10, 2010 10:00 pm (Pacific time)

Oregon is a joke, what a bunch of laughable hillbillys!

johnny1 January 10, 2010 8:48 pm (Pacific time)

I can see how this industry has blossomed in CA. , CO. American farmers saving themselves from foreclosures. our forefathers told us to sow HEMP

Allan Erickson January 10, 2010 5:08 pm (Pacific time)

Wow. Not Nixon's FAULT, but he escalated the drug war. Cannabis is and has been one of humanity's "safest therapeutic substances" (according to DEA Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, 1988). Hey... and at least I put my name on MY words! I'm speaking truth to bs. You seem to like the bullsh#t.

Oregon Reader January 10, 2010 4:28 pm (Pacific time)

I bet Anonymous is a cop who is afraid that the end of prohibition will lead to a loss of law enforcement jobs...

francfist January 10, 2010 4:09 pm (Pacific time)

And if it were ever accepted as a reasonable proposition that smoking is certainly no worse than drinking that IS allowed, I guess the liquor businesses/pushers would be afraid for their incomes too.
I would also like to point out, however, it isn't only soldiers diagnosed with PTSD. I have been diagnosed with it and have never been to war - all I did was be born female in a world where far too many males are rapists. And please men, do not try to counter that last statement by telling me how many bad women you know. Do the research, what are the rates of rape? And by the way, I believe it is 1 in three American female soldiers being raped as they try to serve their country. I bet some of them have PTSD too.

Editor: Frances, sorry for what you have been through.  Those excuses about women being 'bad' make me sick.  Finally, thanks for citing that PTSD affects all people, and it doesn't only happen to people in a combat zone.  

Anonymous January 10, 2010 3:27 pm (Pacific time)

Nixon's fault! Pretty thin reasoning. If you really are concerned how this chief is using funds file some formal complaints. Go to the State AG's office and aledge "Theft" or "Offical Misconduct" or whatever. Get out and do it, maybe that can generate some legal decisions that will clear up this issue, and others, in the future. Also it's such a political hot potato on a federal level, you will not see any strong movement to change the laws no matter what some elected people are saying. When and if it becomes a national debate, expect an avalanche of data that will make grass a major killer.

Editor: Hey, you know you're blowing smoke, so why bother?  Lies and false propaganda are almost useless for you guys anymore, unless you're in Medfor-tucky.  Everyone knows it is the most racist and redneck city in Oregon, so it isn't surprising where this is taking place, more that it is taking place.  Those federal thugs are going to be redirected away from harassing people over medicine whether they like it or not, and I hope they don't like it after all of the personal motivations they have shown.  I've seen the video clips of the brave DEA agents arresting old men and women, and I've seen video in LA of those guys trapped in an apartment and scared to come out, because people are pretty close to simply not putting up with it anymore.  These archaic points of view erode what respect remains for law enforcement in this country. 

I think the Medford chief is dangerous, and he thinks he can keep the spotlight off his community, but he is oh so wrong.  It just so happens that Medford also has some very good citizens and they are keeping us up to date.  If you want to know more about this, read the actual research that exists.  Marijuana laws are outdated and stupid.  This herb helps people, it is very serious.  Finally, this chief must really have it out for American combat veterans, because they are using marijuana to survive PTSD.  Pot isn't a political hot potato, it is a financial time bomb for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.   

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.