As much as local police would like Oregon's medical marijuana program
to go away, Brookings-Harbor cardholders would like police to leave
them alone.

"Nobody likes the police using scare tactics, but that's what it looks
like," said William Nelson, a retired real estate broker who has been
a cardholder since 2000.

Nelson takes issue with an assertion made by Brookings Police
Detective Ron Plaster in an Aug. 2 Pilot article that medical
marijuana use has grown out of control.

Police should make the spirit of the medicinal marijuana law their
priority instead of complaining about conflicts with federal law, said
Nelson.

"That's like when you don't get the answer you want from Daddy, you go
to Mommy," said Nelson, who uses marijuana as an alternative to
narcotic painkillers for a back injury.

"Obviously there are going to be some people taking advantage of the
situation," acknowledged cardholder Cara Watling of the Southern
Oregon Medical Marijuana Network (SOMM-NET).

"But there are only two or three people out there doing that, and
we're doing our best to prevent that," said Watling. "All we're saying
is, if you need it, it should be available."

The number of people with approved medical marijuana cards has more
than doubled since 1998, when Oregon's Medical Marijuana Act, one of
nine in the nation, was approved by voters.

A doctor must verify that the patient has a "debilitating medical
condition" such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or severe pain.

Nelson and Watling are among nearly 300 medical marijuana cardholders
in Brookings alone - a figure probably based on data gathered by
SOMM-NET, notes Watling.

"They (police) get most of their information from us, because we try
to work with them," said Watling.

"I respect the police, but I personally think there are more important
issues than whether they need to come over and count to seven," said
Nelson, referring to the number of plants a cardholder is allowed.

Nelson pointed out the difficulty of growing is one of the reasons
many cardholders have someone else grow their plants.

"The last thing I want to do is have the police give anybody a problem
with that," said Nelson. "People don't understand how hard it is to
grow marijuana."

Watling agreed growing the plant is more difficult than most people
realize.

Growing sends monthly electric bills up because of the use of special
grow lights, which are expensive themselves, explained Watling.

"You have to make sure you've flushed out all the fertilizer, or else
you'll hurt your throat," said Watling. "Just getting it to bloom is
not an easy thing."

Nelson, who suffers intense pain from a back injury aggravated by an
automobile accident in 1995, also disputes the perception marijuana
dulls mental acuity.

"I'll play anybody at chess and I'll win," said Nelson.

Pubdate: Sat, 09 Aug 2003
Source: Curry Coastal Pilot (OR)
Copyright: 2003 Western Communications, Inc
Contact: mail@currypilot.com
Website: http://www.currypilot.com/