Pubdate: Sun, 19 Sep 2004
Source: Dalles Chronicle, The (OR)
Copyright: 2004 Eagle Newspapers Inc.
Author: Richard E. Bayer, MD


Dear Editor:

I was a chief petitioner for the medical marijuana act passed in 1998,
and although successful, it did not create a supply of medicine for
all patients. Some patients need medicine immediately or can't grow a

Measure 33 amends the original act to improve access to medicine by
creating state-regulated dispensaries that act like pharmacies to sell
safe medicine in a safe environment rather than forcing patients to
deal with the underground market.

M33 is not legalization. Only patients who are qualified by licensed
health care providers can register, while sales to persons not
registered remain a felony.

M 33 dispensaries are funded by patient and dispensary fees paid to
the Department of Human Services and will not cost taxpayers money. In
fact, the program currently has a cash balance over one million dollars.

The new limits of one pound for most patients and six if registered
for only one annual outdoor harvest are what patients need. The
federal government still provides six or more pounds each year to
select patients under the "Investigational New Drug Program" for
marijuana but this was closed to new patients over ten years ago.

Many dying and suffering patients are afflicted with debilitating
conditions and the responsible use of marijuana as medicine offers
relief. Patients should not be arrested for using marijuana under
medical supervision and medical marijuana trials should not be
clogging up our courts.

Measure 33 will actually help our criminal justice system by focusing
resources on serious crimes instead of patients trying to acquire
their medicine. After Measure 33 passes, medical marijuana will come
from regulated, licensed, and inspected dispensaries. Patients will be
secure with a safe supply of medicine. The illegal market supported by
desperate patients will dry up.

Health care professionals would prescribe marijuana if it were
federally legal to do so, but in the mean time; laws like the 1998
Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and the 2004 amendment, Measure 33,
improve access to medicine and health care.

If you or a loved one were sick, wouldn't you want reliable access to
the medicine that helps? Medical marijuana should be available through
a safe regulated system. Don't let the war on medical marijuana
interfere with choice in medical care. Vote for compassion and common
sense. Vote Yes on 33.


Richard E. Bayer, MD

Portland, OR 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake