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August 13th, 2014 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Just Saying No To Dope—And Maybe Coke, Too.

murmurs_4041A psychiatric holding room in Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s ER. - Image courtesy Emanuel Emergency Department
  • So far there’s been no organized opposition to Measure 91, the marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot. That’s about to change. Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis says the Oregon District Attorneys Association will decide this week whether to invest in a campaign. Marquis expects some business and medical interests to fight the measure as well. The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, according to its lobbyist, Darrell Fuller, is also working to organize an opposition that can defeat the well-funded measure. “We’re looking at gathering enough people together to convince people that legalizing marijuana is not in the state’s best interest,” Fuller says. “It’s a dangerous drug that’s bad for growing kids.” Neither Washington nor Colorado, where voters legalized marijuana in 2012, saw much in the way of organized opposition. Marquis acknowledges proponents have a better-organized, better-funded effort than the one for the 2012 Oregon measure that failed. “They have a good shot,” Marquis says. “But I don’t think it’s a done deal.” He may be right: A KATU poll released Aug. 6 showed 51 percent of likely voters will vote for the measure, compared to 42 percent against.
  • Oregon’s troubled mental health policies have filled hospital emergency rooms, where thousands of people a year suffering mental health crises are warehoused because of a lack of  psychiatric beds (“All Stacked Up and Nowhere to Go,” WW, July 16, 2014). On Aug. 7, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the practice in that state is illegal. The ruling affirms lower-court decisions that the practice of holding psychiatric patients indefinitely in ERs violates their rights. The ruling increases the chances of a similar legal challenge in Oregon. “Oregon’s statutes and rules are different, but the same principle applies,” says Bob Joondeph, executive director of Disability Rights Oregon. “When the state takes a person into custody due to a mental health crisis, the person is entitled to safe and appropriate care and treatment.”
  • Portland is moving forward with City Commissioner Steve Novick’s plan to stop the city from investing its $940 million portfolio in companies that are ethically challenged. Novick drew national media attention in May when he persuaded the city to begin dumping its $36 million investment in Wal-Mart bonds. Last week, the City Council took steps toward creating a “do-not-buy” list based on how companies treat their employees, the environment and public health. The plan has alarmed the city’s Investment Advisory Committee, which guides the city’s portfolio. In a May letter only recently made public, the committee warned that a list of “bad” companies could grow so large it would leave the city with no options for corporate investment. “We’re not going to put every company on the ‘do-not-buy’ list,” Novick tells WW. “Coke is by definition damaging to human health, but I would not suggest putting them on the list unless I saw evidence that they violated other criteria.”
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