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Video Recording Roils Marijuana Debate In Lincoln County

The General

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Oregon - A surreptitiously recorded video of former Lincoln County district attorney Rob Bovett's presentation about medical marijuana has advocates pointing to the insensitivity of public officials while Bovett considered pursuing legal charges against the filmmaker. Bovett made the "legislative sausage making" presentation about Oregon's medical marijuana dispensary laws at the April 18, 2014 Newport Chamber lunch forum held at the Shilo Inn.

Cellphone Footage
In what appears to be cellphone footage of the event posted on YouTube, Bovett is seen explaining his concern about the rights of local governments to regulate dispensaries. Bovett is the legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties. As a district attorney, he served on the advisory committee that helped implement medical marijuana dispensary rules last year.

Joke Falls Flat with Patient
To illustrate a point about how dispensaries should not operate, Bovett played a clip from the popular TV sitcom 'Two and a Half Men.' In the clip, the Charlie character's pharmacist–while apparently under the influence of drugs himself–tries to persuade him to ditch his sleeping pills in favor of medical marijuana. When Charlie says he does not have a prescription, the pharmacist pulls up an Indian doctor by webcam who quickly fixes the problem.

While it drew laughs from both the studio audience and some at the luncheon, Lauryn Cummings did not find it funny. Cummings said she suffers from a rare disease that caused her to lose 60 pounds because of constant vomiting. Medical marijuana allowed her to regain a semblance of a normal life, she said. Making the decision to use medical marijuana proved particularly difficult for her because her father is a police officer. Cummings spoke to those who laughed at the comedy clip. "I want you to think about the cancer patient lying in bed," she said. "I want you to think of the 6-year-old girl with epilepsy seizures that you are laughing at. That you find a joke."

Beer Drinking and Pot Tarts
In the video, Bovett talks about negotiating with a beer-drinking legislator over the sunset provision of the law allowing local governments to ban dispensaries. To illustrate his concern about packaging of medical marijuana products targeted at children, he displayed a picture of a "Pot-Tart" package made to resemble the popular Pop-Tart breakfast pastry. While some in the audience chuckle, a person at the table with the video recording says, You wouldn't think they were stupid if it was your 6-year-old daughter you were giving them to."

Bovett Contacts Law Enforcement over Video
Bovett contacted Lincoln County District Attorney Michelle Branam and Newport Chief of Police Mark Miranda on June 24 by email, asking that they conduct an investigation after learning that Cummings posted the video on her YouTube page. In the video, a woman is heard telling Bovett, "Lucky we're recording this," and he replies "absolutely." In his email, Bovett says after his speech, he told the person the recording was likely illegal, but dropped the matter when he says they assured him it was an audio recording that would not be posted online. "I thought about letting this go as well. But, especially with the assurances given, that just does not seem right. Please commence a criminal investigation under ORS 165.540," he wrote Branam and Miranda.

Not a Public Meeting
Bovett maintains that because the presentation took place in front of a private organization in a privately owned business where the audience paid to attend, the secret filming was illegal. However, after further thought, he told the Lincoln County Dispatch on June 25 that he had decided not to pursue criminal charges. Bovett said knowing the presentation was being filmed would not have changed what he said, but others in the room might not have felt comfortable asking questions knowing they were being recorded. "I was irritated people thought they could record me doing the presentation without announcing it to anyone in the room and then post it on YouTube," he said.

Medical Marijuana Supporter
Bovett supports the use of medical marijuana and says he is working with the industry to address local government concerns during next year's state legislative session. "I support medical marijuana," he told the April 18 chamber luncheon crowd. "I know it has beneficial effects for a lot people, especially seniors, but I'm here to defend city and counties' rights to decide what businesses they want in their communities."


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Lincolncountydispatch.com
Author: Larry Coonrod
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Video Recording Roils Marijuana Debate in Lincoln County
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