Medical marijuana activist Jim Klahr thinks The Oregonian's editorial board has some explaining to do.
The newspaper published an editorial Sunday, July 25, that called an upcoming statewide ballot measure proposing to establish medical marijuana dispensaries a "charade." Klahr said this week that he has tried to contact editorial page editor Bob Caldwell at least three times with no response.
"It's kind of crazy to me to see a whole editorial board come out in such a vicious manner," Klahr says. "I welcome their opinion, and I want to hear it, but what I want to hear is why."
Klahr's Oregon Green Free wants to meet with the editorial board to question its harsh stance, which included what the pro-pot group calls delegitimizing quotation marks around words like "patient" and "medicine."
Last week, OGF staged a protest outside The Oregonian's downtown office over the editorial. About 30 growers, patients and caregivers showed up on the morning of Thursday, July 29. (The Medford Mail Tribune's reprint online of The O's editorial has prompted medical marijuana advocates to organize a protest Aug. 4 outside that paper.)
"It's not a charade or a scam," says John Sajo, petitioner for the medical marijuana initiative, Measure 74, on the Nov. 2 ballot. "Our goal is to help educate The Oregonian that marijuana is medicine and people need access to it."
Caldwell happened to pass through the July 29 protest on his way back from getting a cup of coffee. He says the group is entitled to protest but defended the editorial, saying, "We would rather have the discussion about legalizing marijuana generally rather than another round of ultimately dishonest debate."