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Oregon lawmaker suggests making cigarettes 'prescription drugs'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (

Cigarettes, at one time prescribed by doctors in the Forties and Fifties as a "safe form to relax after a heavy day of work," has been linked to lung cancer, high blood pressure, emphysema and a cavalcade of illness. Now - and Oregon lawmaker wants to make cigarettes in his state "available only by prescription" - but there's a different kind of agenda at work here.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rep. Mitch Greenlick, from Portland is sponsoring a bill that makes cigarettes a Schedule III controlled substance. The designation would make it illegal to possess or distribute cigarettes without a doctor's prescription.

Offenders would face maximum punishments of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine or both.

Other drugs and substances that fall under the designation of Schedule III controlled substances are ketamine, also known as "Special K," lysergic acid or LSD and anabolic steroids.

"The State Board of Pharmacy may adopt rules placing requirements and limitations on the sale or transfer of products containing nicotine," the bill's text says.

Few think the bill has a chance to win approval. "I think it's pretty crazy," Juan Silva of Salem says. "I don't see it going through. It's going to be something to watch for, but I don't think it'll pass."

Another opinion is offered by Rick Cannon, also of Salem. "I hope it passes and I hope people actually think about it. You know there's less and less smokers everyday because they know how bad it is for them, so I just hope people wake up and realize how bad it actually is for them."

Greenlick previously made headlines this week by suggesting a state committee look into the hiring procedure used by the University of Oregon when it named Mark Helfrich the new Ducks head coach.

In related news: Oregon declined to follow the lead of other northwestern states Colorado and Washington by legalizing recreational marijuana use in the last election.

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