ANOTHER VOICE: Keep safe access to marijuana for those who really need it

The question of whether Hood River County should impose a moratorium on the opening of legal medical marijuana dispensaries is coming before the County Commissioners on April 21.

There is a great deal of discussion about the safety of opening these businesses, that they would cause an increase in marijuana use by youth in Hood River County, and not enough discussion about patients’ right to treat conditions for which their physician has agreed that cannabis would be advantageous for their treatment.

I currently work with legal medical marijuana patients; I see their faces every day. I see the tears of gratitude when a patient who has tried years of conventional medicine yet still remain ill, finally see real results with the use of cannabis as medicine.

I’ve heard story after story that would break your heart, of lives torn apart by use of strong and dangerous opiates. Medications that leave patients not only still chronically ill, but dependent on these truly frightening drugs, losing the ability to hold down a job, maintain relationships and constant concern with when the next pain pill will come.

We’ve seen a huge increase in heroin use and death, and doctors and health officials are now connecting this increase with patients who became addicted to opiates while using legally prescribed pain medications. Cannabis can be a much safer alternative to chronic pain management.

Our police chief has said that if people don’t have their license and want it, they will get it. I have to agree; that has been happening for decades; it’s called the black market.

Have you ever gone into a medical marijuana dispensary? Not unless you had a valid OMMP card and state issued identification; these are professional businesses owned by business people who respect the law and wish to keep their own licenses!

If kids want to get pot to get high, they will do the same thing our generation did; get it from school or friends or head to the skate park, just like they do with alcohol.

But the thing that disturbs me the most are the many elderly patients that we work with. They did not grow up in a free-love, pot-smoking society. They’re all of our grandparents; they’ve worked hard and voted and raised families and gone to church and now they are ill. If they are lucky enough to have a physician who is open-minded enough to recommend cannabis as a treatment, do we really want them out trying to “score” on the black market?

In 1997 Oregon voters determined that cannabis is indeed legitimate medicine that helps many people stay viable and active members of their communities. In 2013 the Oregon Legislature voted to allow dispensaries so patients could have legal place to get their medicine. Both measures were signed into law by our governor, the doctor.

Please respect this and support these patients by not denying them safe access to their medicine.

Pamela Tyler-Kroon lives in Mount Hood.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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