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Newspaper Article – Coos Bay, Oregon: Marijuana group schedules NB event


By Jessica Musicar, Staff Writer
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Americans are being driven to drink. That’s how lobbyist and retired police detective Howard Wooldridge views marijuana prohibition.

‘The irony here is, marijuana is a much safer drug for the user and their family. And we’re driving people to drink because drinking it’s legal,” Wooldridge said. ‘It’s obviously counterproductive.”

In 18 years in law enforcement, Wooldridge said, he responded to zero violent crimes sparked by marijuana use. Compare that with 1,300 calls on homicides, suicides, rapes, assaults, and child abuse cases involving alcohol.

Wooldridge will be featured Friday night, along with two other speakers, during a presentation at the North Bend Public Library on medical marijuana and other marijuana issues.

Wooldridge contends the war on drugs has wasted a trillion dollars, not to mention law enforcement man-hours.

‘Every hour spent chasing a Willie Nelson or Rush Limbaugh, we have less time for the DUI or the child molester,” he said. If marijuana prohibition ends, ‘We would free up serious amounts of police resources to go after real problems.”

Sponsored by Mothers Against Misuse & Abuse, the event is part of a tour of Oregon to discuss drug policy issues, said tour director Jennifer Burbank. Founded in the early 1980s and based in The Dalles, MAMA describes itself a drug education group.

‘We think that our current drug policy, the war on drugs, is causing more harm than good,” Burbank said.

The presentation also will include a presentation on medical marijuana by Alice Ivany, a Oregon medical cannabis patient since 2001.

Ivany, who suffers from chronic pain associated with an amputation, contends Oregon needs more medical marijuana dispensaries. She said when she first joined the program, it took her about 17 months to get her medication.

She is one of the chief petitioners for an initiative to establish a state-regulated medical marijuana supply system. Along with giving medical marijuana users a safe place to buy the drug, the dispensaries would generate revenue for marijuana research, drug treatment and other services.

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