Weed, the People: How a Cannabis Patient Lost Her Foster Kids
One passage from today’s cover story about the business of marijuana in Oregon may have jumped out at you—Kat Cambron, co-owner of Wake n Bake Cannabis Lounge in Aloha, had three foster kids removed from her home last week.
Here’s a fuller account of how authorities removed those three teenage boys from the home Cambron shares with her husband in Aloha. Cambron andMichael Balter, executive director of the Portland-based nonprofit Boys & Girls Aid, disagree on several key points in the story.
Boys & Girls Aid is one of about a dozen private agencies in the Portland area that recruit, train and certify foster parents. The agency then places and monitors foster kids in certified homes on behalf of state or county government.
As for Cambron, she had suffered serious neck, back, shoulder and hip injuries when she rolled an ATV at the Oregon Dunes in 2005. Cambron underwent a series of surgeries and spent years on pain medication.
Cambron, who has one adult daughter of her own, became a certified foster parent for Boys & Girls Aid in October 2009. Before she was certified, Cambron says she informed the agency in writing that she was on several kinds of heavy medication—including Dilaudid (a painkiller), Percocet(another painkiller), Flexeril (a muscle relaxant) and Valium.
She says Boys & Girls Aid knew she was on those medications and approved her as a foster parent. But Balter says that based on a report from Cambron’s doctor, the agency did not believe Cambron was on any medication—and Balter says Cambron never disclosed she was.
“They definitely knew,” Cambron insists. “What they’re doing is trying to twist it.”
For the next 15 months after becoming a certified foster parents, Boys & Girls Aid trusted Cambron and her husband to care for some of its most troubled kids—teenage boys, many of whom had violent tendencies and a history of running from other foster homes. Most were placed for short-term stays in Cambron’s home, the longest for three months. Cambron estimates she has cared for about 40 kids in all.
After spending nearly a year as a certified foster parent, Cambron says she unwittingly ate a cannabis-infused cookie at a party last September. She discovered pot was far more effective at alleviating her pain than the cocktail of pills she’d been prescribed.
Cambron became a state-certified medical-marijuana patient in late September. As a result, she says she cut her number of medications from 18 to five. But she also learned a lack of reliable resources exist for patients to get their weed. So she decided to open Wake n Bake with a friend who had more experience in the pot world, Andrew Gwin.
The cannabis lounge opened the day before Thanksgiving. Cambron says she told Boys & Girls Aid only that she was opening a consignment shop—she says she didn’t mention weed because she was unsure the business would last. But after giving interviews to WW for the cover story, Cambron informed the agency Jan. 7 that she was a pot patient and had opened a marijuana lounge.
Cambron says the agency told her later that same day that they were immediately removing the three boys who were in her home at the time. Cambron says an agency official told her she could no longer be a foster parent because marijuana use violates Boys & Girls Aid policy. The kids were removed the following morning, on Jan. 8.
Cambron says it’s deeply hypocritical for the agency that allowed her to care for kids while on heavy pain meds to take the children away after she switched to marijuana.
“I’m really upset at our system,” Cambron says. “That does not seem to me to be a reason to not help children. I am much clearer.”
On Jan. 7—the day agency officials informed Cambron they were removing the kids—Balter declined to discuss the case in detail with WW pending Cambron’s written permission. But Balter indicated in a phone interview he was concerned Cambron was a marijuana user.
“Many of our young people have drug addiction issues,” Balter said. “If they can find that in the home, or smell it, or see it, that’s very provocative.”
After receiving written permission from Cambron to discuss details of her case, Balter told WW on Jan. 10 that his agency has no specific policy against marijuana use. Unlike the interview three days prior in which he indicated pot was the main issue, Balter said Jan. 10 the agency took Cambron’s kids because she wasn’t immediately forthcoming about becoming a patient and opening the lounge.
“In all honesty, this is about trust,” Balter said. “How could we put children in a home with someone who isn’t telling us all along what’s going on?”
Cambron says the agency is backpedaling on the marijuana issue because she mentioned to them she may consult a lawyer about a legal claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“That’s really interesting that they’re changing their story, because they were wrong and they know it,” Cambron says. “Now they’re attacking me personally after everything I’ve done for them? How rude is that?”
(Read the full story HERE)
Colorado Medical Marijuana: State Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Regulations
Cannabis Seminar Ends Successfully In Redding
Over 130 people attended the Cannabis Industries Training Centre two day conference at the Holiday Inn in Redding over the weekend. The event was designed to educate people about the medical marijuana industry and discuss all of the pros that it has to offer. The event was attended by caretakers, representatives from local collectives, and industry professionals. John Coonradt one of the organizers says he suffered from PTSD after fighting in the Vietnam War and medical marijuana has allowed him to spend less time in bed and more time with his grandkids.
He hopes to bring awareness to others who are interested in taking medical cannabis. “I don't want to sit there and drool and go to sleep half the day,” said Coonradt. “With the cannabis I don't have to worry about that because there's never been an overdose on cannabis.” Organizers hope to eventually expand the seminar into a series of classes for aspiring growers.
Tax requirement in co-op bill raises legal questions, IRS denies pot expenses
Prescott Valley Commission To Discuss Medical Marijuana
The Prescott Valley Planning and Zoning Commission will re-discuss zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation when the panel meets Monday evening. The Community Development Department has revised a draft ordinance as a response to comments and statements made at the December 13th study session. The staff will prepare the ordinance due to the statewide approval of the proposition 203 which allows the use of medical marijuana. The ordinance is 7 pages long and proposes regulations and also calls for non-profit organistations to operate dispensaries.
The ordinance states that dispensaries must be located in commercial areas and must be at least 500 feet from each other as well as residential areas, schools, churches, parks and other public building and facilities. The ordinance will also limit the total area of the said dispensaries to no larger than 1,000 square feet and the dispensaries must be located within a permanent building. The ordinance would also allow infusion facilities which involves preparing marijuana for the use of cooking, blending and other means within the dispensary.
Marijuana cultivation facilities or in other words places to grow medical marijuana would be allowed in C-3 districts and inside dispensaries.The 500-foot distance requirements also would apply to cultivation facilities. Cultivation sites could cover a maximum of 3,000 square feet in floor space. The ordinance also contains provisions for caregivers to grow marijuana in C-3 districts. The Medical Marijuana Policy Project estimates 65,000 people in Arizona will be registered medical marijuana users by the end of this year. An estimation says that Prescott Valley would have as many as 835 registered users based on the town's population.
Mobile Medical Marijuana Dispensary Hits the Streets in San Francisco
Lifted Health and Wellness (aka Lifted420) is literally the buzz around San Francisco. The new company delivers a selection of high-quality, low-priced medical marijuana products to their patient-members' doors on environmentally friendly electric scooters.
"We offer one-hour delivery to member-patients' home, office, or other convenient location," said William, founder of Lifted Health and Wellness. "We offer at least ten different types of premium grade medicinal marijuana-and post daily specials on our website and Facebook that feature different combinations of cannabis varieties."
Lifted's delivery service was developed to address the needs of cancer patients, the elderly, people living with HIV or MS, and others who may have challenges getting around town; but William notes that most of Lifted's clients simply prefer the convenience and safety of home delivery.
"There have been incidents of people staking out San Francisco pot dispensaries and robbing patients as they leave," said William. "Delivery is a much safer option."
To ensure compliance with city and state laws, prospective members must produce proper documentation before they can become members: a current medical marijuana recommendation from a certified health professional and a current California State ID.
Lifted is also environmentally responsible. They cultivate the medicines they sell to ensure it is 100% organic, green, and grown in a sustainable manner. Factories that produce their indoor-grown varieties are powered from solar panels lining their roofs. Delivery by electric scooters also helps protect the environment.
About Lifted Health and Wellness
Lifted Health and Wellness is a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary committed to serving member-patients' needs with the highest level of compassion and professionalism. They provide the finest quality medicinal marijuana by cultivating the marijuana themselves and delivering it to their patient members within the hour.
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