In a brazen show of discrimination, a special meeting took place in Salem, Ore. this week. This meeting was called into existence by state governor John Kitzhaber, M.D. Members of the governor-appointed Early Learning Council sat down to deliberate on a proposal to amend the background and registry rules for three types of state regulated childcare facilities: registered family childcare, certified family childcare and certified childcare centers.
The proposed rules were described as having the ability to strengthen the health and safety standards of childcare facilities relating to illegal controlled substances, including medical marijuana (which is legal in Oregon) alcohol and tobacco products.
It was decreed that all 65,000 plus Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) patients were prohibited from being on the property of a state-licensed daycare facility premises, while they are under the influence of marijuana, their medicine. The council also chose to make revisions that prohibit of individuals who hold a medical card from being a licensed childcare provider.
What does this mean for the pediatric cannabis patients in Oregon? Take for instance my family; we are all valid OMMP program cardholders – including our 9-year-old daughter Brave Mykayla, who has a diagnosis of leukemia. She takes 2 grams of full-extract cannabis oil every day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This ensures a near 24-hour reduction in chemotherapy side effects.
Based upon current event arguments concerning blood/THC levels, our daughter would be considered by the state to be under the influence of marijuana all 24 hours of each day. This proposal then effectively criminalizes daughter in the states eyes and prohibits her from stepping foot on the premises of any Oregon daycare facility. How is this new set of rules not discriminatory against families that have underage medical marijuana patients? Why should parents be burdened with not having adequate daycare for their children while we are at work?
Erin Purchase, mother of Mykayla and national advocate for pediatric cannabis therapy attended this Early Learning Council meeting and gave her testimony. She explained that when seeking quality day care for her children, she is much more concerned about a day care provider being under the influence of prescription medications (such as morphine, Vicodin and Seroquel) than being under the influence of cannabis.
This controversial debate all began around the end of June, when parents of children who attended Alphabet Academy Learning Center in Salem were notified that the center had its license suspended while the State Office of Child Care conducted an investigation into health and safety violations.
KOIN 6 local News team reported that the center’s director and medical marijuana patient, Moriah Jaeger, was found smoking a bong at the facility with children nearby. The story quickly spread through the state garnering commentary and reactions from both sides of the debate.
“This effectively takes child care away from any parent that has a medical marijuana card,” Anthony Taylor of Compassion Oregon said after watching the unusually fast paced nature of the proceedings. “The chair conveyed the message that we were saving the children from marijuana. It was a done deal and they were just doing what the governor wanted. While there were some members that seemed genuinely concerned about the hurried manner and repercussions of their actions, there were no dissenting votes.”
What we have here is an attack based on opinions. The consequences of this attack and subsequent rulings are life-altering for thousands of Oregonians in many different ways. The evidence is mounting in favor of those opposed to these sudden biased and discriminatory amendments. Children are not placed into danger by being left with and cared for by a medical cannabis patient, far from it as many people proclaim the positive effects of the plant.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said, “Marijuana consumption should not and cannot be tolerated within a child care environment licensed by the state. We entrust our providers to maintain safe learning environments where our children can thrive. There is a loophole that needs to be closed. I want that addressed immediately, and have directed the early learning council to take the necessary regulatory action.”
Attorney Lee Berger immediately jumped on the technicalities of the governor’s rash move, watching the story circulating the local media, he began checking facts. What he found was that no professional licensing board may impose a civil penalty or take other disciplinary action against a licensee based on the licensee’s medical use of marijuana in accordance with the provisions of Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.
Many children today are successfully using medical cannabis to treat a wide variety of illnesses like T-Cell leukemia, Dravet’s Syndrome and Nephroblastoma. These children’s stories are amazing and they are instilling new hope into parents across the country and world. Here in the state of Oregon parents of children such as these had a giant dash of salt thrown on their hopes with the new regulations.
What do you think about Oregon’s rules for medical marijuana patients and childcare? Do you agree or disagree with the regulations? Tell us in the comments.