Q&A with Senator Joseph Brannigan (10/20/09), Question 5
Senator Joseph Brannigan has had 22 years of legislative experience, as he stated when he sat down with me. Much appreciation must be given to Senator Brannigan for welcoming ballotpedia.org into his home in Portland to talk about Question 5. He gave us much insight not only into his experiences with the issue, but also what effect it could have in the state’s legislative body:
1. What constitutes your support with Question 5? What history have you had with this particular issue of medical marijuana?
I've been a supporter of medical marijuana since the 80’s. We allowed medical marijuana back then, but it never panned out. We’ve been off and on with the issue, but it never really happens the way we want it to. So hopefully this can improve what we’re trying to get done with marijuana, medically speaking. This is a dispersal issue. The dispersal of medical marijuana to patients in need can’t get any worse than it is now.
2. How much money will the state spend on the ID card system, if any? Where would that money come from if not from the state?
My hope is that the state won’t spend any money on it. I would hope that the system would be self-sufficient. Maybe a charge would be enforced to those who would be using those ID cards. I would really want that system to be self-sufficient.
3. Personally, do you know of anyone who has had the need for medical marijuana?
No I don’t know of anyone personally or close to me. But I’ve spent some time with a group of elderly people who have specialized needs. It’s a complicated issue. This measure will make medical marijuana transactions more out in the open. It would regularize the relationship between the user and the caregiver.
4. Question 5 would not legalize marijuana in the recreational sense. Do you think some voters could be confused about the use of marijuana this measure would give?
I think the medical part has been strongly emphasized. It think people are pretty clear on that. Especially with the older folks I mentioned before. They really want the use of this medical marijuana because they are starting to wear down and it would help them.
5. As a senator, how many of your colleagues would you say support this measure?
Well let me say that if this issue had gone to the floor, it would have passed. I don’t think it would have passed unanimously, of course there would have been questions of this being a slippery slope. We would have to have kept a close eye on it.
6. Have you done anything, personally, to help with the campaign in support of the measure?
No, I don’t think I’ve been asked or approach to help out. I try to lay out both sides. But the group of elderly people that I visited asked me what side I would vote on come November. I told them that I would be voting for this to be passed.
7. With Question 1 on the ballot this year, do you think Question 5 is being put on the back burner in terms of voters’ attention?
Well a lot of groups such as Catholic churches put a lot of “umph” behind defeating these issues. Besides Question 1, this is the “other” moral issue. Probably people who are against casinos too and…yeah [Question 5] might have gotten more attention had Question 1 not been there.
8. Is there anything you would like to add? Anything you would to say about Question 5?
Well I think that the legislature will be vigilant in making sure this is executed properly if it passes. I doubt that certain things will be mandated by this measure. But if it passes, the legislature will work to make it work.
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