A temporary ruling adopted Wednesday by Oregon's Early Learning Council has banned medical marijuana patients from working as licensed child care providers, and has one Redmond businesses owner crying discrimination.
"One of these is saying I'm suspended, the other is saying they kicked me out of the background registry because I'm suspended," Boo's Daycare owner Angie Hudspeth said Thursday, holding up paperwork from the Oregon Department of Education.
Hudspeth's suspension from child care has closed the facility serving seven children from within her home. The report does not mention details why she was shut down, other than citing an open investigation.
Hudspeth said she believes she was shut down because of her status as an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patient. "I love the kids that I watch," Hudspeth said, fighting tears. "And not being able to have them hurts so bad."
NewsChannel 21 spoke with officials over the phone from the Early Learning Council who said no day care has yet to be closed because of involvement in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, as the rules were just announced.
Spokeswoman Aimee Craig said she didn't readily have details available to why Boo's Daycare was closed.
Other documents sent to Hudspeth show she has been investigated in the past for health and safety hazards. But Hudspeth said she has taken the necessary steps to rectify issues such as proper door handles and cleaning up dog waste.
"I knew it was over my OMMP card," Hudspeth said, adding that the investigating official had told Hudspeth she'd looked up her information as a medical marijuana patient.
Hudspeth said the suspension has stripped her family of its only income and has given the state command over her health care. "If I chose this job over my medication, I'm going to lose the job anyway because of my epilepsy," Hudspeth said. She said marijuana helps to control her seizures, as well as relieve pain from her other medical conditions. However, the state has made it clear -- at least for now, mixing day care and marijuana is illegal. Other newly adopted rules include prohibiting individuals from possessing, storing or using medical marijuana on the premises of a licensed child care facility, and banning people under the influence of marijuana from being on the property a licensed day care. "Teachers still get to use it, and they're in charge of a whole lot more children than I am," Hudspeth said. "Why can my kids' teachers have this? Why can everyone else have it but us?" The answer? The orders to the council came from Gov. John Kitzhaber himself who said in a press release issued by ELC: "Marijuana consumption should not and cannot be tolerated within a child care environment licensed by the state. We entrust our providers to maintain a safe learning environment where our children can thrive." The council now has six months to decide whether to make the rules permanent.
Meanwhile, Hudspeth can only hope the rules will be dropped or changed, and she'll soon be back in business. "It's not just a job to me. These kids are like family to me," Hudspeth said.
The new rules also clarify bans on the use of illegal controlled substances, clarify limitations on tobacco products and prohibit the consumption of alcohol by any individual in the home during child care hours when children are present.