December 12, 2017

Allison Dumas, Author at MARIJUANA POLITICS

Allison Dumas

Allison Dumas is a 22 year old Portland transplant. Originally from Davis, California, she left her hometown to study Art History and Ethnic Studies at Lewis and Clark College. She graduated in May of last year and began working for New Approach Oregon, doing research and field work for the campaign that successfully legalized marijuana in Oregon. She views marijuana prohibition as a civil liberties and social justice issue, and will continue fighting for its end.

Legalization and one of its heroes

This past month has been a frenzy for leaders in cannabis reform in Oregon. In case you missed it, Tom Burns got fired, the medical marijuana community is at war with Oregon legislators who are trying to impose grow limits, inspections, and fees, and no one yet knows where they are going to legally buy weed in the state without a medical card come July 1st.

It would seem that the measure Oregonians approved with flying colors last fall, is harder to implement than it was to pass. That said, the fact that we are able to even engage in these discussions openly is a huge step forward from the war on drugs that started almost 45 years ago.

The closer we get to July, for this reason, the more I wonder what it took for us to be where we are today with marijuana legalization (or re-legalization really).  When did the initiative against the war on drugs start, and who are the heros behind that movement?

The history of marijuana reform has no doubt been a slippery slope, especially in Oregon. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize cannabis in 1973, and one of the first to implement a medical program in 1998.

The passing of Measure 91 in November last  year was another milestone for cannabis activists, especially those who have been fighting for its legitimacy since its prohibition in 1935. One such activist is Anthony Taylor.

I had the pleasure to speak with Taylor at the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) in Eugene a couple months ago. He had a lot to say about marijuana and legitimacy.

Taylor began advocating for marijuana reform as a student in college. He was head of the NORML chapter at Portland State University in 1976, and became a lobbyist in 1983 through an internship program run by the University. In 1985, he became the first paid marijuana lobbyist in Oregon, and the only one in the capital building. When asked about legislation during this time, he claimed it was “sausage making called legislation. We needed a voice in Salem for pot people, for cultivation and the plight of marijuana users.”

Thirty years later, the same is true. Talking to Taylor, however, made me hopeful. When he first started working at the capital building getting anyone to talk about marijuana was difficult, and hearings were none to few. He was one of the few out and proud advocates for marijuana reform at the time, and comfortable making others uncomfortable with discussions of marijuana law and policy.

Because of continued efforts of people like Taylor, our power as a community is beginning to show. It is this kind of dedication to the truth that builds community. And it is this kind of community that is necessary to end the war on drugs and restore civil liberties.

Taylor is currently working on a patient care bill and medibles, and at the same time is involved with 91 legislation. His concern has always been the community, particularly the medical marijuana community, and he wants to ensure that the initiative that 56 percent of Oregonians voters approved last fall is upheld.

A Monumental Moment with Monumental Medicinals

This time last month growers, activists, and leaders in the cannabis industry gathered together in Eugene for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC). A coming out of the closet for some, it was a monumental moment for all. And speaking of monumental, it opened up a space for cannabis companies such as Monumental Medicinals to share not only their products, but their knowledge.

Based out of Southern Oregon, Monumental Medicinals is a family owned and operated cannabis company. While roaming through the conference, I had the pleasure to stop by their booth and speak with one of their co-founders, David Melendez. Son to a grower, David has been cultivating cannabis for over thirty years. He has been in Oregon for more than twenty of those years, and currently owns a farm four thousand feet high in the Cascade mountains.

Called Monumental after the region it is based out of, all of Monumental Medicinals products are produced from seed and sun-grown. David grows the flower and his partner Laura helps make the products, which range from topical salves and cannabis tinctures, to vape pens with pure CO2 oil and RSO (Rick Simpson Oil). All of their products are produced with the most wholesome of ingredients, and with the utmost respect for the environment.

As a long-time farmer with extensive experience in both organic and bio-dynamic methods, David believes in taking the time to find out what grows well in your environment. Growing at a uniquely high elevation, he dedicated fourteen seasons to finding the right strains to grow at that height. He and his partner Laura then dedicated another five years on packaging and labeling alone, ensuring that their users get the most user friendly of products. The end result is a high quality product for qualified patients.

As a self-proclaimed grower and user, David is looking for happy strains. His strains are hard, dense, fully mature, and maintain the vigor of a healthy and hearty plant. When asked for his recommendations for potential new growers, he strongly encouraged that we work together. He suggests that new growers seek consultation from more experienced growers and, as a result, save themselves untold years of learning the hard way. In David’s own words, “We might as well use each other as resources.”

For more information, check out Monumental Medicinals website.

Why Do I Support Marijuana Legalization?

There are many reasons to support marijuana legalization. Some are interested in social justice, others in the economics and additional tax revenue that can be generated. New jobs can be exciting jobs to many people, especially during tough economic times. Why do I support marijuana legalization? For me it’s personal. It’s about family, and equal treatment. When New Approach Oregon kicked off the Vote Yes on 91 campaign, I was honored to talk about my personal history with marijuana prohibition. Below is my statement that was published in the Skanner:

Small-time marijuana arrests have big-time consequences

Our current approach to dealing with marijuana in Oregon is failing us. Nowhere is it more apparent than in our communities of color.

African-Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in this state. It’s not because one race uses marijuana more than the other. It’s because of special scrutiny from police engaged in the war on drugs.

Growing up in a bi-racial family, I’ve seen both worlds firsthand. My mother, a white middle-aged woman, was never stopped or searched by the police. My father and brother, both African-American men, were stopped regularly. The excuses were always the same. “It looks like your taillight is out,” or “We got a complaint from the neighbors that there was a suspicious person in the neighborhood.”

One time my brother was stopped and searched, as he had been many times throughout his life. Unfortunately he had a tiny amount of marijuana on him, no more dangerous than a six-pack of beer. He was charged with basic possession. Yet, he spent three months in jail for a misdemeanor charge that was supposed to be a ticket. The run-in cost him his career. After dedicating himself for years writing government contracts, he lost his job.

My brother’s story is like too many others. A conviction for possessing a small amount of marijuana follows you when you apply for a job, or a loan, or try to secure housing. It pops up on every background check.

Although black and white Oregonians use marijuana at the same rate, in some communities in Oregon, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession at more than three times the rate of whites. If you can believe it, the rate nationwide is even worse, 3.73 times. These arrests, for something which should not be considered a crime, are doing irreparable damage to the economic future of a generation of young black people.

Arrests for possessing a small amount of marijuana feed into a larger rift between communities of color and the police. Regulating pot to sell in reputable establishments, making it available to otherwise law-abiding citizens, and removing the stigma of these arrests can go a long way in healing that mistrust.

That’s why I am working to win a new approach to marijuana. In fewer than 100 days, Oregonians will have the opportunity to vote yes on Measure 91 to tax, regulate and legalize marijuana.

A victory would be more than simply winning sensible drug policies. It will deal a big blow to the illegal drug trade and violent drug cartels, and the tax money raised will go in part to schools.  It will raise money to care for those suffering from dependency of more harmful drugs.

When the War On Drugs began more than 40 years ago, only 12 percent of Americans supported regulating, taxing and legalizing marijuana. Now poll after poll shows growing support for this common-sense treatment.

This is an overdue conversation, and it is important that we are heard now. It is time for a new approach, Oregon.

It was great that Measure 91 had a resounding victory with 57 percent of voters declaring that marijuana prohibition has failed. We still, however, have a lot of work to do. Racial disparities in the number of drug arrests, including in states that have legalized marijuana, have not gone away. It is important that we remain a part of the conversation and make sure that our voices continue to be heard.

Budfolio Strain App – Brian Brunelle Interview

Brian from budfolio

March Madness is here! Studies show it to be one of the least productive work months of the year. Rather than work, people are distracted by picking brackets, placing bets and, most importantly, watching basketball. This year, however, I find myself more interested in the on goings of cannabis, especially after another momentous time at last weeks Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) in Eugene. Over the course of two days, I was once again tasked with conducting interviews and finding out the latest in cannabis news, culture, and business. This was a great opportunity to talk to and connect with many up and coming leaders in the industry. One such leader was Brian Brunelle with Budfolio.

Budfolio is a new app that launched last year. Based out of California, it is a people’s portfolio of cannabis strains. Similar to other social media outlets such as Facebook or Instagram, it can best be described as a mobile journal of cannabis users strain experience, knowledge, and recommendations. Great for new and old cannabis users, it acts as platform where users can smoke, rate and share their strain experience. The app is free for the general public to use, and offers new users an opportunity to connect and engage with other cannabis users with wisdom and insight into how a given strain might enhance their day to day experience.

It is currently one of the only social networks for the cannabis community, and revolutionizing the way we view and experience cannabis. Sign-up to be a part of a growing community of out and proud cannabis users, and expand your knowledge on cannabis strains. You can cruise the lounge like you do your Facebook newsfeed, peruse their online strain library, and search for nearby dispensaries all on the same site. Regardless of your familiarity with cannabis and various strain types, it is sure to be a fun and informative experience.

The CO2 Company: Optimal Oil Experience While Caring for Patients

c02-company-green-light-xl

While working my first assignment for Marijuana Politics at the International Cannabis Business Conference, I was tasked with conducting a few interviews. One of the interviews I had the pleasure of conducting was with Karen Sprague and David Tanksely of the CO2 Company. The CO2 Company is a Southern Oregon extracts company making an exceptional product while never forgetting that the purpose of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program is to care for patients first and foremost. In addition to being major sponsors of the ICBC, they are also sponsoring the upcoming Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) in Eugene March 15-16th. If you can make it to the OMMBC, you should certainly check out their booth and products.

Pioneers in the field, the CO2 Company is revolutionizing the way patients receive care. Karen Sprague and her husband David Tanksely founded the company out of Rogue Valley, Oregon in July of last year. Working together with brothers Ryan and Kevin Walsh, they offer half gram CBD and THC cartridges of pure CO2 oil, along with CBD and THC drippers of the highest quality. What makes their products different from others are their combined efforts to keep it affordable, accessible, and about the community. They are currently working with around thirteen local farmers, as well as growing themselves, and their low-income, in-need patients have never paid a dime. Moreover, their concern is not only about the product but the process.

They do their best to keep it sun grown and clean. As a result, they produce some of the purest CO2 on the market, and keep their carbon foot print low. In addition to quality, they are helping conduct much-needed research. Working with some of the top scientists in the field, they are currently engineering a cannabis powder pill for patients. And for all of you who love their pens, they are also coming out with a new and similar product. This new product is an all-glass tank with a titanium cool, called the XL Green Light Vapor Pen. True to their claims, it offers an “optimal oil experience”, and can be directly plugged in for charging. For fifty dollars, it could be yours.

Check out the CO2 Company’s website, on Twitter, on Instagram or their booth at the OMMBC for more information.