Medical pot at day care rules coming in August

Temporary rules will likely be in place in August

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Following a KOIN 6 News investigation, the state of Oregon is putting into place emergency, temporary rules to prevent day care providers from smoking medical marijuana on the job.

Nine day cares in Oregon have employees allowed to smoke medical marijuana.

One, Alphabet Academy in Salem, currently has its license suspended while two different state agencies investigate them. Two day care managers at this facility were seen by KOIN 6 News cameras smoking from a pipe and a bong while children were still at the daycare.

The state is taking further action to address the issue.

Jada Rupley, the director of the Early Learning System for the state of Oregon, July 14, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Jada Rupley, the director of the Early Learning System for the state of Oregon, July 14, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

The director of the Early Learning System for the state of Oregon, Jada Rupley, told KOIN 6 News she was not even aware medical marijuana provisions for day care workers existed.

Asked if she knew about the medical marijuana provisions before the KOIN 6 News story, she said, “I did not.”

Rupley oversees the Oregon Office of Child Care, the agency that allowed those provisions.

“This is an Oregon issue that everyone is struggling with,” she said. “How to define the rights of adults versus protecting children.”

Despite repeated requests, Gov. John Kitzhaber has either “declined” or has been “unavailable” for an interview with KOIN 6 News about this.

Kitzhaber, though, did issue this statement:

“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.”

Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson, the GOP nominee for governor, July 11, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson, the GOP nominee for governor, July 11, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

State Rep. Dennis Richardson, the Republican candidate for governor in the November election, said there’s no excuse.

“It’s outrageous the governor is learning about what’s happening on his watch from KOIN-TV,” he said.

Richardson said parents should be notified so they can make an informed choice.

“What we need to know is, where are the facilities so parents immediately can make decisions,” Richardson said.

Parents who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they were not told about the medical marijuana use until Alphabet Academy’s license was suspended.

The emergency, temporary rules will go into place by the 18 members of the Early Learning Council appointed by Gov. Kitzhaber.

“The August date is the soonest we could get the rule-making into place,” said Rupley.

Exact details of the rules remain to be determined.

Asked if those rules would include prescription medications, Rupley said, “I think as we look at what those changes need to be, we need to look at all of those.”

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