New Oregon State Child Care Rules Discriminate Against Legal Marijuana Consumers

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State Board Declares Medical Marijuana Patients Can’t Own or Work in Child Day Care, Yet Allows Minor Patients to be Medicated with Marijuana at Day Care

(Image: / Tyler Olson)

(Image: / Tyler Olson)

In a stunning move Thursday, the state board that processes licensing for Oregon child day care facilities made permanent a temporary rule banning cardholders in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) from also holding child care licenses.  Among the new requirements are the following:

  • Prohibition against child care providers holding medical marijuana cards;
  • Prohibition against child care providers using any form of marijuana in a child care home during child care hours or when child care children are present;
  • Prohibition against anyone under the influence of marijuana having contact with child care children;
  • Prohibition against anyone growing or distributing marijuana on child care premises;
  • Permission for children with medical marijuana cards to be medicated on child care premises.

Portland NORML objects to these new rules most strenuously, as they fail to “treat marijuana like other medicines” as outlined in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.  Marijuana is a Schedule II substance under Oregon law, just like Adderall, a powerful amphetamine.  However, to date no state agency is stripping day care licenses from Oregonians with legal Adderall prescriptions.

“Once again, outdated ‘reefer madness’ fears about marijuana have replaced science and common sense,” remarked Portland NORML Executive Director Russ Belville in reaction to the rules change.  “These rules reflect deeply-held prejudices that deny the fact that adult marijuana consumers are just as capable and responsible in the workplace as consumers of alcohol and tobacco.  These rules are as un-American and offensive as the ‘No Irish Need Apply’ signs in the turn of the previous century.”

Belville also worries about the application of these rules to all legal adult marijuana consumers when Measure 91, approved by 56 percent of the voters, goes into effect.  “Come July 1,” Belville explains, “adult consumption and possession of an ounce of marijuana are as legal as drinking a glass of wine and smoking a cigar.  What will ‘under the influence of marijuana’ mean with respect to dealing with children in a child care?  If that means ‘detection of marijuana metabolites in a drug screening,’ then these rules would effectively prohibit any child care worker or owner from ever using legal marijuana, even off hours or on the weekend.  It might even endanger parents who use legal marijuana if they pick up and drop off their children at a child care.”

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Russ Belville

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.

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