Published in the Argus Observer December 12, 2014
Community members placed the spotlight on medical marijuana Thursday afternoon, by approaching the City Council during their regular work session and staging a protest after their pleas to for a spot on the upcoming Council agenda went unanswered.
“I’m the grandmother that helped bring you the Oregon Medical Marijuana act in 1998,” said Stormy Ray, from Ontario. “I’m here today to ask that the patient’s voice be herald publicly at your monday night meeting.”
Ray acknowledged Oregon Senate bill 1531, which was signed into law in March of 2014 and gives local governments the right to impose regulations and restrictions upon medical marijuana dispensaries. She said since Ontario has placed a ban on dispensaries, patients who use medical marijuana have not “had their voices heard, not once.”
Ray said she routinely visits medical marijuana patients within the city and recently had to rescue an unnamed individual who had “been on the floor for 10 days” and was afraid to call for assistance due to their use of the plant.
“That’s not the community that I love,” Ray said, “and it’s because my officials don’t understand.”
Thomas Ray, another Ontario resident, also pled with the Council, for a chance to be on the Monday night agenda. Thomas Ray said he recently was in the hospital, where he was allowed to use his medical marijuana by his doctors provided he stay in the garage area.
“I guess [that] is against the law and I shouldn’t have admitted that, but they knew,” Thomas said. “We’re talking about 7 doctors, not one or two, seven doctors knew how important that medicine was to me.”
Thomas said his quality of life improves when he uses medical marijuana and prefers the medicine over narcotics for his chronic pain.
“You can go downtown in this good, religious town of ours on Sunday and buy a bottle of liquor,” Thomas said. “Why can’t a medical marijuana patient, who is entitled by their doctor, go to a dispensary and purchase the medication that hey need?”
Thomas and Stormy Ray both asked the City Council repeatedly to allow medical marijuana advocates onto the Monday night agenda. They said their dispensary facilities are ready for product, will all the safety measures necessary in place, and that they have put together an advocacy group dubbed “People Like Me” to help create awareness for the issue.
“Put us on your agenda, let us be heard,” Stormy told the Council. “Will someone from this Council make a motion to put us on your agenda please?”
There was no motion made from the City Council on the matter and, after public comment, Stormy and Thomas Ray met up with other medical marijuana advocates to stage a protest and raise awareness for their cause.