PDXS, Volume 7, Number 14, October 24-November 13, 1997, pp. 3 & 5

Outlaw Medicine

by a Patient

The Portland Police Bureau raided the downtown Alternative Health Center on September 24, shutting down an organization that has been providing medicinal marijuana to people with AIDS, cancer and other illnesses for two years. Everyone knows that's wrong.

To understand why this clinic is needed, you need to understand the issue of medical marijuana. Imagine you have a life-threatening or life-ending medical condition. The pharmaceutical companies say they have a drug that will mask the symptoms, but it's very expensive and has serious side-effects. Then imagine that nature found a way to mask your symptoms better, at relatively little cost and without the side-effects. That's marijuana. It takes your pain away, helps you regain your appetite and improves your quality of life. But nature's medicine is not legal for political reasons. Would you not use it because of that? If you put yourself in the position of these patients, I think you would break the law.

Back in 1995 an organization called CBC, the Cannabis Buyers Club, was formed by several people. Marc Brown and Tom Zink are the only two who come to mind at this time. It was a home delivery service of sorts. I never actually received any medicine from them but, as I understand it, all of the coordinators were living with AIDS. At certain times they were very sick and emotional about what they were doing. They were also too close to their cause to be objective and the CBC as the business it needed to be. The conflicts tore the group apart, and some of the surviving patients still have a lot of hard feelings.

Diane Desnmore was a past member of the CBC, and she felt it needed to happen again to give the people who really needed marijuana a safe consistent way to receive it. Diane was a registered nurse. She is a kind, motherly sort who took a giant risk and put herself on the front lines of the War on Drugs.

Diane opened the Alternative Health Clinic in the Modish Building on S.W. Park. I went there all the time. She had food, water and juices, books, aromatherapy and an abundance of other things available to the patients. Diane's life would change on September 24. The police bashed into her home, invaded her privacy, then took her downtown to do the same thing to her clinic. Not only that, but the police raided virtually every office in the building. Doors were broken down and guns were shoved into people's faces - including many people who had nothing to do with the clinic. A record label, a video production company, and several other businesses were broken into. That was reported on KGW-TV, even though the Oregonian ignored it.

The police also broke into a basement room, where they claimed to find four pounds of pot, some cash, and a sleeping man. They would later report this was the clinic's marijuana, but I don't know if they can prove it. I don't even think they had a valid search warrant for the entire building- and I understand some of the other business owners are preparing to sue the city for violating their rights.

I laughed when I heard that a couple of undercover police had allegedly bought marijuana without having any real need at the clinic.

WhenI was there, Diane always asked for a doctor's prescription and picture ID. If people didn't have them, she would send them on the way with a banana, juice, and advice on an appropriate over the counter pain reliever. Maybe she made a mistake. Maybe she sold a snitch some pot. But it's not like she was trying to corrupt children or any of the other lies that the media spread about marijuana. She was sincerely trying to help sick people.

I heard Diane say the police were nice to her. Most people will find this strange, considering that she was busted for doing nothing more than helping sick people. But that just shows how kind she is. I hope she can find some way to keep the clinic going. So many people need it.



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