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July 6, 2014
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Publisher's Notebook: Since when is it OK to 'medicate' while you're caring for children?

As Oregon debates how high it wants to get, here’s the latest out of Salem.

A day care center owner had her license suspended for “medicating” during business hours.

In the new world of political correctness, “medicating” is how we describe people who get stoned.

For the same reason you are referred to as “undocumented” and not “illegal” if you enter this country without the proper paperwork.

I have to remember that next time I have a few drinks and have to explain myself.

“Have you been drinking?”

“No, honey. I was washing my teeth with gin. My dentist suggested it.”

For some silly reason the state doesn’t think it’s a good idea to medicate with marijuana in front of children.

Go figure.

The day care center owner even went on television and acknowledged that she and her daughter and a couple of other day care workers routinely “medicate,” but that they do it in a tent in the backyard and not in front of the children they are being paid to keep an eye on.

The day care facility is called Alphabet Academy Learning Center and, according to its Facebook page, it’s been open since 2012.

It promises to give your children “adventures they will enjoy learning about,” although there is no mention of the adventures of “medicating” in the middle of the afternoon with lots of children running around with a sugar rush.

She told reporters that four of her employees have medical marijuana prescriptions, which leads me to believe it’s not that tough to secure one.

Perhaps it’s a condition of employment.

“What can I do for you today?” the medical marijuana “doctor” might ask.

“I run a day care and those kids make my head explode.”

“OK. Here’s a prescription for a pound a week. Come back next year and we’ll see how you’re doing.”

Imagine the employee orientation.

“Hello. Welcome to Jeff’s Day Care. I’m Jeff and this is my day care. Over there is where we keep the kids and over there is the tent where we can medicate. Any questions so far?”

“I have one,” a new employee asks. “Can I medicate in the tent, too? If so, do you provide the marijuana, or do I need to bring my own?”

“Yes. You can come in the tent with your own marijuana, but one of us has to stay outside the tent and watch the kids.”

“What kids?”

“The ones over there by the swings. The ones they pay us to watch when we’re not medicating in the tent.”

The woman who owns Alphabet Academy Learning Center told the TV reporter she wishes people wouldn’t be so judgmental. “It’s not like we’re running around playing with our kids all high.”

Nope. It sounds like the kids aren’t all high, just she and her employees inside the tent.

For the record, I’m not being judgmental. I think all day care providers ought to be able to medicate in a tent — in the woods, on a camping trip, on vacation.

But if you and most of your employees need to “medicate” inside a backyard tent during business hours, I’d probably find another day care center that doesn’t come with rolling papers and a bong.

There are some businesses more suitable for medicating. You could, for example, operate a kennel. Dogs don’t care if you medicate, so long as you feed them.

I’m not sure about cats.

You could also run a meditation center.

“What are you doing?”


“Is that pot I smell?”

“Yes. I was medicating, now I’m just meditating.”

Not sure I could run this newspaper while medicating.

“How much is a subscription?” a caller might ask.

“I have a prescription,” I might answer, getting defensive.

“No. I’m asking about a subscription,” the caller would insist.

“I only medicate in a tent out by the press,” I might respond. “Not in front of the customers.”

The Salem day care center became the center of attention when a television news camera caught the owner and her daughter smoking pot in the backyard and not inside the tent. In a photo you can see one of the two sucking a giant bong outside the tent.

When confronted, the owner wondered what the fuss was all about.

“Why does the news need to be involved?” she asked KOIN 6 News in Salem.

It’s the kind of question you might ask if you’d just medicated.

She went on to say that some parents might have a problem if they knew she and her employees were medicating while caring for their children.

“Hey, honey. Isn’t that where we take the kids?” dad might ask, as he watched the 6 o’clock news.

The scary part of the KOIN story was that the state agency that oversees day care centers wasn’t initially sure if a prescription allowed operators to smoke pot around children.

“Let’s see, you can’t drive a truck while medicating, but I don’t see anything about children …”

The Salem day care center owner continued to stand behind her medical rights, wondering why it’s not OK to “medicate” with pot while other day care providers might be, I don’t know, hooked to a morphine drip.

At least one mom isn’t waiting around to find out. She told the television news reporter she’s pulling her kids out of the Alphabet Academy Learning Center because she doesn’t want her kids around pot smokers for the same reason she’d have a problem leaving them with a gin-drinking newspaper publisher, or words to that effect.

And just so we’re clear. A gin-drinking newspaper publisher wouldn’t want to watch her kids while he’s rinsing his teeth anyway.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or

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The News-Review Updated Jul 6, 2014 12:06AM Published Jul 6, 2014 12:14AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.