Best of #StateReads: Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program Abused by Traffickers

  • September 26, 2012
  • By Maggie Clark

This week's collection of #StateReads covers the abuse of Oregon's medical marijuana program by drug traffickers, the tragic consequences of mismanagement at the Illinois Department of Children and Families and a surge of money on both sides of Michigan's ballot measures to repeal the state's emergency manager law and place collective bargaining rights into the state Constitution.

These examples of extraordinary journalism about state government were recommended in tweets using the #StateReads hashtag on Twitter and in email submissions to dvock@stateline.org.

“Drug traffickers exploit Oregon medical marijuana program's lax oversight and loose rules”- The Oregonian

Oregon's medical marijuana law is heavily manipulated by traffickers who make millions on the black market, a three-part investigation from the @Oregonian finds. Reporter Noelle Crombie (@ncoregonian) found that due to few restrictions on who can be a medical marijuana patient, grower or caregiver, many people convicted of drug felonies have licenses to grow and consume medical marijuana. Eight Oregon large-scale medical marijuana operations were the target of federal investigations this year. The newspaper found that nearly 40 percent of Oregon pot seized on the nation's most common drug-trafficking routes during the first three months of this year was tied to the state's medical marijuana program.

“Fatal Flaws: Prior DCFS involvement fails to save kids”- Chicago Tribune

Even though the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was warned that these children faced possible abuse and neglect, more than 200 children with prior DCFS contact lost their lives due to abuse or neglect from 2000 to 2011, according to an investigation from @ChicagoTribune reporter Christy Gutowski. The investigation detailed eight cases where DCFS workers “made serious errors, broke rules or falsified case notes” and small children lost their lives. Roughly 23 percent of child deaths from abuse or neglect occurred in a family DCFS had investigated, the investigation found.

“National unions and Chamber of Commerce face off in Michigan”- Center for Public Integrity

National labor unions and business groups are focusing on Michigan this election cycle to influence the next battle for the future of the labor movement, reports Paul Abwod (@paulabwod) for The Center for Public Integrity (@publici). Michigan's ballot initiatives to repeal the state's controversial emergency manager law and enshrine collective bargaining into the state's Constitution are causing advocates on both sides of each issue to flood the state with campaign cash.

“Aging, polluting school buses remain on California roads”- California Watch

California's school buses are some of the nation's oldest and most polluting, reports Kendall Taggart (@KendallTTaggart) for California Watch (@CaliforniaWatch). By creating a database of all the state-owned school buses, Taggart found that more than 3000 buses were built in the 1980s and earlier. Children riding in older buses are exposed to more air pollution than those in newer low emission diesel buses. Some school districts are experimenting with retrofitting old buses since little state school transportation funding exists.

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