Portland Catches Buzz, Proclaims Pot Awareness

Oregon’s medical marijuana program has received a second hit of official support with Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ decision to proclaim May as Medical Marijuana Awareness Month in the state’s largest city.

Adams’ proclamation — issued Wednesday — comes after Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy declared April 30 through May 6 as Medical Marijuana Awareness Week in her city. Pro-pot advocates lauded Piercy’s move.

Adams’ public statement of support is a word-for-word copy of Piercy’s proclamation.

Both documents state that Oregon voters approved a 1998 ballot measure making it legal for people to possess, use and grow marijuana if their doctor recommends it for debilitating symptoms. Both proclamations also assert that “marijuana has a history of thousands of years of safe use without any recorded deaths attributed to its use, and all citizens deserve the right to know the truth about cannabis.”

However, Piercy — who read her proclamation last weekend at the Global Marijuana March rally in downtown Eugene — said her position on medical marijuana should not be construed as support for the drug’s legalization.

Piercy on Wednesday said she was glad that Adams had followed her lead.

“I’m pleased to see Portland standing up, too,” Piercy said. “I would expect a progressive, well-educated community like Portland to support legal access to medical marijuana as a way to ease suffering.”

Madeline Martinez, executive director for the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said she approached members of Adams’ staff last week after learning of Piercy’s proclamation.

“The Eugene mayor did it first, and I thought, ‘Gee whiz, this is wonderful,’?” Martinez said, adding that she asked that Adams take it a step further.

“I thought that after a decade (of Oregon’s medical marijuana program), we deserved a month,” she said.

Officials in Adams’ office did not return telephone messages left Wednesday seeking comment.

According to the state Department of Human Services, nearly 21,000 people in Oregon can legally use medicinal marijuana.

– Article from The Register-Guard on May 8, 2009.

Comments