August 10th, 2010 | by Sarah Jacoby News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Cops and Courts

What One Original Medical Marijuana Supporter Thinks of Measure 74


Stormy Ray, one of the original petitioners back in 1998 for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, is opposing the medical marijuana initiative that's on the Oregon ballot this November. That initiative, Measure 74, would create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon for the 36,000-plus people who, like Ray, have medical marijuana cards.

Ray's views are already inflaming supporters of Measure 74. But Ray, a long-time opponent of expanding the 1998 act, says Measure 74 is really just a “smokescreen” for legalization of marijuana ultimately for adults in Oregon.

Ray says the proposed Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System would also create opportunities for growers to abuse that system. She says allowing growers to hire and license employees for only $10 each (as long as they're 21 years old) would create a climate for criminal behavior.

Jim Klahr, one of the petitioners for Measure 74, strongly disagrees with Ray.

"I think it's actually going to cause a cut-down in the number of gardens out there," Klahr says. "It's a whole different thing. I think it's going to cause less of that problem than more."

Ray is also concerned about the price increase that would be necessary to keep the system going. Right now, she says, cardholders grow their own plants and pay about $40-60 per ounce. But to get marijuana from one of the proposed non-profit dispensaries would cost up to $200 an ounce—a price that Ray says many patients just can't pay.

Klahr, the CEO of Oregon Green Fee, says the point about pricing could be true because "the dispensary has so much overhead." But he adds that's the price of doing legitimate business—not gouging.

Ray, 54, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, says, “We're not California here. We have a program that allows patients to help each other out.”

“It's a disaster in California,” she says of medical marijuana dispensaries. “It's horrendously horrible. We don't want that in Oregon.”

She adds that there are small groups of patients in Oregon working and growing together. She and her Stormy Ray Cardholders Foundation hope to propose an expanded process of that current co-op system in January that wouldn't include dispensaries, if Measure 74 fails.

She says the details of the proposal are still being worked out. But she wants to see larger gatherings of patients that operate like co-ops so that they're still in control of the system.
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