Big Names Line Up in Support and Against Pot Dispensaries in Oregon

Troy Torgerson says medical marijuana helps him manage his pain.Troy Torgerson says medical marijuana helps him manage his pain.One thing voters may notice in Oregon’s Voters’ Guide this election is that some big names are supporting Measure 74, a measure that would green-light state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries.

Turn on your radio Monday and you might hear a new ad with the voice of former Portland mayor and police chief, Tom Potter, supporting the measure.

“But I do support Measure 74,” he says in the ad. “It regulates medical marijuana. That change is overdue. Since medical marijuana is legal, we need to regulate it.”

The measure would allow patients like Troy Torgerson to buy pot and no longer depend on a personal grower or other patients with extra medical marijuana.

“I’m in a lot of pain, so the medicine does help a lot,” he says.

“Too many patients do not have access to medical cannabis,” says 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 to the measure say the measure is an attempt to legalize pot and will open more people up to drug addiction.

The Oregon Medical Association, which represents doctors, urges people to vote no, writing, it “exceeds the needs of unhealthy Oregonians and is beyond the practice of good medicine.” It will “result in the legalization of marijuana beyond any possible medical market under the medically unsubstantiated guise of medical need.”

The three major law enforcement associations – the Oregon District Attorneys Association, the Oregon Sheriff’s Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police – all oppose Measure 74.

“We’re at a crossroads of taking this drug to basically legality,” says the sheriff of Clatsop County, Tom Bergin, who’s one of the most outspoken opponents of Measure 74.

“And when you legalize something like this (availability) it means more abuse,” he says.

“If Measure 74 works effectively like we believe it does, it may very well help lead to legalization in the future,” says Johnson, “but that’s a debate for another time and Measure 74 should be debated on its own merits.”

There are more than 36,000 people enrolled in Oregon’s medical marijuana program which is about one percent of all Oregonians. California, New Mexico and Maine already have dispensaries.

– Article from KATU News.