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5 owners of Oregon child care sites have pot cards

Jul 23, 2014 | 2 Comments


By The Associated Press

SALEM — Five Oregon home-based, day-care centers are owned by people who have medical marijuana cards, officials said, prompting Gov. John Kitzhaber to say they should have to choose between their business and their pot.

The state Office of Child Care has long viewed medical marijuana use as a private health matter that isn't disclosed to the general public or parents of children at the centers.

Providers have conditions attached to their care licenses allowing them to use marijuana as long as they lock up the drug and paraphernalia, avoid smoking it in front of children, and have another adult present while under the influence.

The state, however, changed course following media scrutiny. Parents of children at the five centers were notified last month that the owners had pot cards, and the names of the centers were made public.

“The governor's priority is making sure children in child care and early learning programs are in healthy environments and actively engaged in learning,” said Melissa Navas, a spokeswoman for Kitzhaber.

Navas said the governor is asking the Early Learning Council, which he appointed to oversee early childhood education, to take action so medical marijuana cardholders are prohibited from being licensed child-care providers.

The council meets Aug. 6 and could adopt new rules, although it's unclear whether the panel has authority to ban marijuana cardholders from owning child-care centers without legislative action.

Kitzhaber's Republican rival, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, had seized on the issue, saying last week that “the governor has a responsibility to make sure provisions like this don't slip through the cracks and put our children in danger.”

Applicants for child-care licenses are not currently asked whether they have medical marijuana cards, so the state knows only about those who volunteer the information. The application will change after the Early Learning Council meets in August, said Crystal Greene, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education.

Child-care providers who give up their medical marijuana card and meet all other requirements will be allowed to keep their child-care license, Greene said.

One of the child-care centers, Alphabet Academy in Salem, was shut down for multiple unspecified violations, state officials said.

The other four centers received surprise inspections last month and were found to be following the conditions on their licenses, said Jada Rupley, Oregon's director of early learning.

Bridget Towles, owner of B's Preschool in Portland, said it was invasive to be forced to disclose her private medical information but parents were supportive.

“I think we run one of the best preschools in Portland,” Towles said. “I think the governor should come see my preschool before he makes any rash decisions like that.”

Towles said she uses medical marijuana in lieu of pharmaceuticals, only after hours, to relieve pain and muscle spasms from fibromyalgia. She said the drug is locked in an area the children can't access.

Shanna Aldis, owner of Precious Little Lambs in Salem, said she uses a cream infused with medical marijuana to treat pain in her back and feet. She doesn't smoke the drug, and it doesn't interfere with her ability to take care of the children, she said.

“It's just a cream, it doesn't affect your mind or anything like that,” Aldis said.

The other two child-care centers whose owners had medical marijuana cards were identified as Nancy's Play Care and Tammi's Day Care. Their owners could not immediately be reached for comment.

Another four child-care centers had disclosed that someone who lives in the home — but not the owner of the child-care license — had a medical marijuana card. The state did not disclose those centers.

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Comments

07:25 am - Fri, July 25 2014
bonnybedlam said:
Will the state be reviewing medical records and publishing the names and medications of all the other child care providers now? Don't parents and the general public deserve to know who uses narcotics, or who has a heart condition and might drop dead in front of their kids? Or is this just a slick way to encourage criminals to target these hardworking, card-holding, law-abiding citizens? Will the state also release the names and addresses of owners of other valuable property? Coin and gun collectors, perhaps?

Everyone believes that using = smoking = growing, and the state has done nothing to alleviate that misconception. People who only use creams and oils gifted by card holding friends still fill out the same paperwork, which requires a growsite address. But most people are smart enough not to advertise that they might have plants or medication worth hundreds or thousands of dollars in their home, by not revealing to the world that they have a marijuana permit.

Basically our fine governor hasn't done anything except betray small business owners who found a way to continue working in spite of their disabilities, opening them up to loss of business and criminal invasion as well as exposing their private medical issues to the general public--a thing he was only able to do because they scrupulously obeyed the law by registering in the first place--in order to "solve" a "problem" (children endangered by pot use at daycare) that no one seems to have had. Hope he has a solution for the parents when their daycare providers are murdered in their homes, or run out of the neighborhood.
09:09 am - Thu, July 31 2014
MrsBike said:
I am shocked to say the least. Of all the items a day care provider has, medical marijuana is on the low end dangerous substance or items.

Mrsbike

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