Drug Law

Oregon Woman Says Her Day Care Was Shut Down Over Medical Marijuana

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

An Oregon woman says the State Office of Child Care has shut down her day care because she and her daughter are medical marijuana cardholders.

The Alphabet Academy Learning Center in Salem will remain closed while the state investigates claims that it violated health and safety regulations. The owners of the day care, Moriah Jaeger and her mother Charity Araujo, were notified that their license was temporarily suspended on Friday.

"We have authority to suspend a child care license when we determine there is a substantial threat to the health and safety or well-being of children," Kathleen Hynes, the legal and compliance manager with the Office of Child Care, told the Statesman Journal.

Araujo says neighbors made a complaint after they saw her and her daughter smoking marijuana, which they are licensed to use. Four out of five staff members at the day care have marijuana cards.

Hynes would not confirm or deny that the investigation has to do with medical marijuana concerns.

Araujo says they comply with state regulations and they never smoke around the children.

She says Jaeger suffers from migraines and other medications make it difficult for her to do her job.

"That medicine knocks her out," Araujo said.

She denied that there is a lack of supervision at the school. She says three or four staff members provide care for up to 16 children.

"We can come back on shift when we're medicated, just not as primary (caregiver)," Araujo said.

Araujo told parents about the medical marijuana on Friday and says some parents may decide not to return after the suspension is lifted. She claims there is a stigma to medical marijuana use “and that’s why DHS is opening up an additional investigation.”

"They don't ask what other people do for their medication choice but the fact that marijuana is involved in our medication plan, that's where the (stigma) comes in,” she said.

On Thursday, cannabis advocates turned in 145,000 signatures to put recreational marijuana to a vote in November. That’s more 87,213 more signatures than they needed to get it on the ballot.

Sources: Statesman Journal, MinnPost