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Oregon, Bush At Odds Over Medical Marijuana

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LEBANON -- The Bush administration and the state of Oregon already
have picked public fights about doctor-assisted suicide.

Now, the battle has spread to the back yards of Oregon residents who
have a state license to grow marijuana for medical use, such as Travis
Paulson, a Lebanon resident who got an unwelcome house call from the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently.

The agents confiscated 104 plants from Paulson's home despite his
state license. DEA agents said that they were enforcing federal laws
against growing pot.

The raid marked the second time in a year that DEA agents have seized
marijuana cultivated in Oregon for medicinal uses.

"(The Bush administration) is very quick to say they believe in
states' rights, except for (these issues) and anything else they don't
agree with," said Oregon House Rep. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.

Brian Blake, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy, said that federal drug agents are not targeting
Oregonians who grow medical marijuana but are going after what he
called "the marijuana threat."

DEA investigators raided Paulson's home Oct. 2 after receiving a tip
about his marijuana crop and obtaining a search warrant, DEA spokesman
Tom O'Brien said.

O'Brien said that DEA agents confiscated 48 mature marijuana plants
and 56 immature plants, far more than what Paulson is allowed under
state law.

By law, residents who are licensed to grow marijuana for medicinal use
can have three mature plants and four immature plants. Paulson
concedes that his 48 plants exceeded that amount.

But he said that he cultivates marijuana to maturity only in the
summer and harvests that crop for his entire yearly use. The 56
immature plants were clones that he intended to plant next spring, he
said, and he anticipated becoming a caregiver for another patient.

Paulson was not arrested. DEA reports were forwarded to the U.S.
attorney's office for possible criminal charges, O'Brien said.

Kevin Neely, spokesman for the state attorney general's office, said
that although residents who participate in the state medical marijuana
program are operating legally under state law, they still risk federal
prosecution.

Oregon has 6,062 licensed medical marijuana patients, state records
show. The state also has 3,815 licensed caregivers, who are legally
allowed to furnish marijuana.


Pubdate: Mon, 13 Oct 2003
Source: Statesman Journal (OR)
Webpage: http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article.cfm?i=3D69098
Copyright: 2003 Statesman Journal
Contact: letters@statesmanjournal.com
Website: Statesman Journal: Salem news, sports, entertainment. Serving Salem, Oregon.