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Sep-16-2010 02:02printcomments

AOI Anti Medical Marijuana Campaign Benefits Insurance Companies, Burns Oregonians

Associated Oregon Industries opposes the wishes of Oregon voters and sick people by attacking Measure 74.

anti marijuana protest cartoon
Special thanks to: Orange County NORMAL

(SALEM, Ore.) - Military veterans are one of the largest user groups of medical marijuana in Oregon. A press release from Associated Oregon Industries indicating that they are against allowing access for patients through medical marijuana dispensaries, is a knife in the back of the people who allow AOI to selfishly serve its top heavy clients with such ridiculous assertions in the first place.

Through honor or ignorance or whatever myriad of justifications and reasons, these are people who chose to hold their hand up and fight for their nation. The fact that they are stricken with pain and illness and disease and short lives is far more important than the lame argument AOI attempts to wage against Oregon's Ballot Measure 74, which would allow the establishment of dispensaries to handle the needs of sick people that are legally using marijuana.

Nobody else will be able to procure marijuana under 74. California's Proposition 19 on the other hand, will allow adults over the age of 21 to simply purchase marijuana. That is far more radical than what Oregon's Measure 74 proposes.

In the press release titled "Marijuana Dispensaries Have No Place In Oregon" written by Jana Wolfgang & Zane White, they begin by stating that:

"Employee health and workplace safety are a paramount concern of employers".

If that is true, then I imagine the employers they refer to are equally supportive of the rights of their fellow Oregonians as mandated by the legal justice system. Medical marijuana is good for the health of employees who need it, and it is both voter endorsed and firmly part of Oregon law.

They follow the above statement with:

For the benefit of their employees, employers strive to provide work environments free from the use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs or the improper or abusive use of prescription drugs or alcohol.

'Free' is very poorly used in that sentence. It means 'Drug Free Work Environment' which means drug testing and inspecting your urine before they decide you are good enough to work for a company. It is sickening that we ever allowed this to take place; it needs to become an industry of the past. People need to stand up to this kind of nonsense and unions and other organized labor organizations have to help.

I wonder if there is anyone in any workplace who doesn't have to deal with at least one fellow worker or colleague who uses prescription narcotics legally on a daily basis. I have seen it in the active military, I know police and everyone else allow employees to work while they use legal prescription drugs, and who knows for sure anyway? Alcohol is odorous, marijuana sometimes reddens the eyes, but prescription drugs, what Mick Jagger called "Mother's little helpers"- those are self regulated and almost always undetected. Boy do they impact the workplace though.

They also strongly impact the pocket books of the greedy pharmaceutical industry; companies like Purdue Pharma, which our writer Marianne Skolek helped convict in federal court for advertising Oxycontin in the beginning as "non lethal" and "non addictive".

The audacity of these drug manufacturers is plastered in TV commercials all day and all night long, a clear reflection of their making money hand over fist. It is shocking, but they have the power, along with the insurance companies.

The insurance industry implemented the 'drug testing' world we live in during the height of the Reagan drug war. I have always been against 'piss testing' as it is a completely violation of our human rights which are in a constant erosion process. But believe me, Associated Oregon Industries thinks you should all be tested before being allowed to work in Oregon. The only thing drug testing really adequately targets is marijuana, if you didn't know. Meth users can go three days and pee clean. Don't be offended by the lingo by the way, this industry shoved those words into our daily lives as Americans.

As our writer Dr. Phillip Leveque, one of the top medical marijuana experts and pioneers alive today has written:

"There is no sense in depriving people of a safe and effective medicine. There is an endless list of reasons marijuana can be beneficial to mankind."

Bearing in mind that doctors dope people up on heavy morphine based drugs like Oxycontin all the time, and that hangovers are almost always something people can get away with, but should not get away with, it seems ridiculous that such a heavy emphasis is placed on marijuana. Supporting their notion of providing "work environments free from the use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs" they ridiculously inflate figures to somehow make it appear as though marijuana use is costing the taxpayers, it is a direct lie. I would have to do the research, but I sincerely doubt marijuana use leads to a anything close to a million dollars in 'lost productivity' annually in this state. But AOI wants you to believe that this plant is somehow behind $4 billion in lost productivity? Ever heard of meth? AOI is fighting for the wrong values, their suggestions are stupid and they are no friend for the working people of this state.

"These efforts are critically important for Oregon employers due to the seriousness of Oregon's drug problem. Oregon's per capita drug use exceeds the national average, and the rate of marijuana use by adult Oregonians is 50 percent higher than the nation's. The economic cost of substance abuse to Oregon is huge -- $5.9 billion annually, with $4 billion attributed to lost productivity. By increasing access to marijuana through a dispensary system, Measure 74 would only undermine employer efforts to reduce substance abuse in the workplace."

My last four and a half days have been fairly crazy. Last night I was in Irvine, California speaking before their city council about the toxicity of the El Toro Marine base where I once served. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday touring and videotaping toxic hot spots in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach for a future documentary with fellow Salem-News.com writer and former Marine Roger Butow, who is a leading water quality expert in this part of California, about ten minutes from the El Toro Air Station. The places I saw and recorded were sickening, they betray the thin veil of Orange County's fair face, but they are the result of lobbying by groups exactly like Associated Oregon Industries. I spent both days of last weekend covering the Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon. My point is that I know what the medical marijuana community is like and they are not a threat to Oregon's future in any way. The AOI and the police and others are working collectively in spite of what voters have clearly stated. It is not their job to reinterpret an existing and call this legal herb a threat while not even mentioning the drugs that can actually hurt or kill a person.

Their point of view benefits only a few, those at the top of the food chain, fed by their minions who dream of one day screwing people the way the business world leaders do. I'm sorry, there is moral business and there is the archaic mindset of groups like AOI. I say it is one of the few groups that you should probably stand against consistently. They are for the employer, not the employee in this case. .

Let's examine the next part of their press release, it is their reason for being against sick people in Oregon who use legal medical marijuana. This is their version of mean and potatoes:

Under the Oregon Supreme Court's decision last April in Emerald Steel Fabricators v. BOLI, major portions of this measure would conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act. Employers are concerned that passage of Measure 74 would jeopardize their eligibility for federal contracts and grants.

So rather than fight the ridiculous Federal Controlled Substances Act, and the insurance companies who push all of this on working Americans, AOI goes for the throat of the person who needs medical marijuana the way another person needs cough medicine, and another needs another type of medicine. Marijuana used to be extremely common in the United States and a major ingredient in medicine by some of the very same companies that exist today, like Eli Lilly.

Their release states: "Employers also are concerned about the effects of Measure 74 on Oregon's livability. The abuses of the current Oregon Medical Marijuana Program have been well-documented by law enforcement agencies, which report a rise in criminal activity and the growth of an illicit market due to lack of program oversight and high possession limits (each cardholder can possess a pound and half of usable marijuana)."

This is a crock too. The cops are fighting for the same system they are fighting for, the insurance and big pharma industries, whether they realize it or not. Adults using marijuana behind closed doors are no problem for police in this country, an that especially applies to sick people; cancer patients, chronic pain sufferers, asthma patients, HIV/AID's patients, people who suffer from chronic nausea, wasting diseases, glaucoma, the list goes on. Veterans should be prescribed medical marijuana for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they can be in California, but Oregon's limited law doesn't allow for it. In fact in spite of the way AOI describes this voter approved law, there are many limitations. The police are playing politician and it is wrong, they judge the decision of Oregon's voters harshly and they have no right to do so. Believe me, when police rise above the law as they are doing in this case, they are behaving dangerously. They are in this event, thugs for insurance companies.

I won't include the rest of their release, you can figure it out I'm sure. Both California and Oregon have extremely conservative regions, counties and cities and their law enforcement officials and district attorneys have gone way over the line in trying to block the will of the voters. That is the same thing Associated Oregon Industries is doing.

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Doug Snead September 16, 2010 12:58 pm (Pacific time)

re: "'Free' is very poorly used in that sentence. It means 'Drug Free Work Environment' which means drug testing and inspecting your urine" It is downright Orwellian. In George Orwell's own words, this is from his novel, "1984": "To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as 'This dog is free from lice' or 'This field is free from weeds'." -- George Orwell, "1984", APPENDIX. The Principles of Newspeak So we can see that the term "Drug Free" is as Orwellian as you can get.


anonymous (removed) September 16, 2010 10:31 am (Pacific time)

Marijuana=happy people+munchies+ tax and regulation+jobs= BOOMING ECONOMY AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!


Douglas Benson September 16, 2010 7:58 am (Pacific time)

Lets get this straight .As it stands now patients can buy marijuana from the black market legally but its illegal to sell it to them . Doesnt that fuel the black market and in thier mind crime? Also companies like hoffman have random testing ,where you are escorted to thier own testing area and forced to provide a sample . I also believe they have some kind of backdoor access to DHS records of OMMP participants . They arent loosing any fedral contracts ,that is an out and out lie. If they were there would be zero fedrally funded building here allready. What they are really fighting is turning so called criminals into respectable businessmen .There goes huge ammounts of jobs and money they take from the taxpayers to fight the evil weed . Fedral [and state] money to fund use of the national gaurd ,prisons ,courts ,task forces ,treatment ,drug testing etc. right into the economy and giving it to the very people who they want to imprison . The police and goverment arent here to help you they are here to collect as much money as they can from the taxpayer. LEGALIZE ! Peace

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