August 27, 2016

Anthony Johnson, Marijuana Politics Blogger and Editor

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.

Oregon Cannabis Convictions Expunged Free of Charge in Portland on August 27th

Rise Up

This blog was originally posted at www.newapproachoregon.com.

Legalizing cannabis in Oregon was a great achievement that is already paying dividends for our state by creating jobs and generating revenue. However, the number one reason to legalize cannabis was to keep people from suffering from unnecessary and harmful consequences for using a substance less addictive and lethal than alcohol and tobacco.

We are extremely proud of joining forces with the Bus Project to help with the Fresh Start campaign that successfully passed legislation allowing for the expungement of past marijuana offenses. Unfortunately, too many people are unable to afford the lawyer and court fees that it costs to have their offenses expunged. Thankfully, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and Marley Natural™ are stepping up to help folks expunge their past Oregon cannabis convictions, free of charge, on August 27th at the Village Ballroom, located at 704 NE Dekum in Portland, from 11am to 2pm.

Please see the press release sent out by MCBA and Marley Natural™ below. If you have a cannabis conviction that can be expunged or reduced, sign up atwww.minoritycannabis.org and please, spread the word.

Minority Cannabis Business Association and Marley Natural™ are clearing cannabis convictions in legal-market cannabis states. When cannabis is made legal, people convicted of cannabis offenses prior to legalization still carry the negative stigma of cannabis convictions. While the cannabis industry profits, a specific group of people targeted in the failed war on drugs continue to suffer the negative consequences of cannabis criminal records, including denied jobs, financial aid, housing, and, in some cases, the right to vote.

Part of MCBA’s mission is to combat the consequences of the war on drugs. In service to that mission, we are extremely proud to announce Rise Up™ Oregon Expungement Day brought by MCBA™ and Marley Natural™. On August 27, Rise Up Expungement Day participants will, within 2 hours, complete all steps necessary to file their request for expungement with the state of Oregon, including covering all costs and fees.

Marley Natural and MCBA developed the Rise Up Expungement program together to further both organizations’ missions of lifting up communities that have been harmed by the social injustices of cannabis prohibition. Marley Natural’s Rise Up™ program projects are committed to positive social change. As agents for change, Marley Natural honors Bob Marley’s legacy by adding his beliefs to the conversation about cannabis.

The Minority Cannabis Business association is proud to have a platinum sponsor with the legacy and history of Marley Natural. Says MCBA Chairman Jesce Horton, “With Marley Natural as our partner, we are building the resources needed to make a measurable positive impact in communities impacted by the war on drugs. By giving back through Rise Up, Marley Natural is an example of a cannabis company that is getting all aspects of cannabis business right so we don’t just build another industry; we build a better industry.”

Founded in 2015, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first non-profit organization created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, employees, and patients/ consumers. The organization currently serves members from across the United States and Canada. MCBA’s mission is to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs. For more information, visit www.minoritycannabis.org.

Marley Natural is the official Bob Marley cannabis brand, crafted with deep respect for Bob’s legacy and belief in the positive potential of the herb to heal and inspire us. Starting on August 24, 2016, the brand’s all-natural, sun-grown premium cannabis products, as well as smoking and other lifestyle accessories, will be available at all Serra and Nectar dispensaries in the Portland metro area and Eugene. To learn more about Marley Natural, visithttp://www.MarleyNatural.com or follow the conversation on social media using @MarleyNatural and #MarleyNatural.

 

Mark Your Calendars: ICBC Heads to Canada October 13-14th

ICBC

Helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) has been one of the best projects of my career as it is great to see so many great advocates and industry participants in one place. It has been rewarding and humbling to get good reviews about the event and it is important for everyone involved that attendees get the information and networking opportunities that they need to improve their business and advocacy.

The ICBC has brought together old-school legends like the Guru of Ganja Ed Rosenthal and cannabis icon Tommy Chong as well as new upstarts that are making waves across the globe. The ICBC makes the trek into Vancouver, Canada, a truly amazing international city that has been on the global forefront of the cannabis legalization movement. Mark your calendars for October 13-14 and join activists and industry participants from around the world learn about the latest developments with Canada’s medical system, as well as what appears to be on the horizon for its legalization system.

Canada shook the legalization world after the election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, the first major party to make legalization a part of its party platform. After Liberal unexpectedly won in a landslide, cannabis law reform advocates around the world rejoiced. It hasn’t been all rainbows and smooth sailing after Trudeau came into power, but the nation is moving forward with legalizing cannabis for all adults, although bureaucratic wheels tend to turn slowly.

We’ll be covering the ICBC extensively here at Marijuana Politics, with several features highlighting this historical and important event. So stay tuned and, if you can make it, we’ll see you in Vancouver!

 

DEA Will Allow More Medical Cannabis Cultivation Sites, Keep Marijuana at Schedule I

DEA Delays Rescheduling

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a new policy this morning that many advocates have considered a mixed bag. The DEA announced that they would allow more universities to produce medical cannabis for research purposes, but that marijuana would ridiculously remain a Schedule I controlled substance (the same classification as heroin, deemed to not have any medicinal value). While many marijuana law reformers were hopeful that the federal government would reschedule marijuana down to a Schedule II substance, a classification that includes methamphetamine and cocaine, but a Schedule II classification wouldn’t have much of a benefit for the cannabis community and industry.

A Schedule II classification wouldn’t have made medical marijuana legal federally nor would it have fixed our nation’s ridiculous tax and banking laws that make state-regulated cannabis businesses difficult and dangerous to operate. There may be a symbolic victory in the federal government announcing that marijuana did indeed have medical value, there aren’t many practical benefits to the Schedule II classification.

The new policy of allowing more medical marijuana cultivation could eventually have a big impact on legalizing medical cannabis at the federal level. Research has been stymied by the fact that the only approved marijuana had to be produced at the federally-approved site at the University of Mississippi. With more medical marijuana available, more research can be conducted on more strains and for more conditions. As more research is done, more voters and politicians will realize the need to legalize medical marijuana across the nation, and eventually, end cannabis prohibition altogether.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, along with Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have issued statements lambasting the decision of the DEA to keep marijuana a Schedule I substance, and they are all doing amazing work helping lead the way towards a sensible cannabis policy. It was also great to see Oregon Governor Kate Brown decry the DEA’s nonsensical policy as well.

The fight to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances now moves to Congress where there just happens to be a bill that would declassify cannabis from the scheduled list, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders. Let’s get some co-sponsors of this common sense bill in the Senate, a companion piece in the House and work to convince Congress to end the failed and harmful war on cannabis.

This blog was originally posted by New Approach Oregon. Reposted here with special permission. 

New Approach Missouri to Challenge Invalidated Signatures in Effort to Place Medical Marijuana on the Ballot

New Approach Missouri

Over 60% of Missouri voters support the legalization of medical cannabis and hard-working activists at New Approach Missouri seemingly gathered enough signatures to place a medical measure on the 2016 ballot. Unfortunately, more than 10,000 signatures were disqualified in the 2nd congressional district, leaving the campaign just over 2,000 valid signatures short. New Approach Missouri will now take the political fight to the courts, hoping that voter intent will prevail.

As someone that has had to sweat out a couple of successful signature gathering efforts in both Oregon, I feel for these activists, and the patients and concerned citizens that are hoping to have medical cannabis on the ballot this year. Missouri’s signature gathering requirements are rather strenuous, forcing campaigns to collect so many signatures in several congressional districts. Oregon, in contrast, simply relies upon a bulk number of signatures, not mandating that signatures come from different areas of the state. Here’s hoping that Missouri courts will see that this medical measure does indeed belong on the ballot, for the sake of thousands of sick and disabled Missourians that would benefit from medicinal cannabis.

A message from the campaign was sent out to supporters today:

As a campaign supporter, I wanted you to hear this important campaign update directly from me.

Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaign Will Ask Courts to Overturn Invalidated Signatures, So that Measure Can Appear on November Ballot

We announced today that we will go to court this month to overturn invalidated signatures, so that our medical marijuana measure can appear on the November ballot in Missouri. Multiple ballot initiative campaigns have successfully gone through this effort to get back on the ballot over the last decade in Missouri.

“The citizens overwhelmingly want Missouri to be the 26th state to allow state licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients with debilitating illnesses,” said Jack Cardetti, New Approach Missouri spokesman. “Later this month, we will ask the courts in Missouri to overturn some of these invalidated signatures, so that this initiative can appear on the November ballot, and more importantly patients suffering from everything from cancer to epilepsy will finally have another treatment option. Courts have long held in Missouri that they want voters to make these final decisions.”

An initial review of signature totals from the six congressional districts we collected this Spring shows that the campaign currently has more than enough valid signatures in every district, except for Missouri’s second congressional district. In that district, which is made up of parts of Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties, local election authorities invalidated approximately 10,700 signatures, leaving the campaign roughly 2,200 short of the 32,337 signatures required in that district. We don’t believe the local election authorities in this district unnecessarily invalidated these signatures out of malice, but rather the errors were made by overworked staff and temporary employees that are brought in to handle the validation process for this year’s five initiative petitions.

Recent polling indicates that if the initiative is on the November ballot in Missouri, it is likely to pass. A poll released July 15 from the national Public Policy Polling showed that 62% of Missourians would vote yes on the initiative, compared to only 27% that were opposed. Likewise a poll from the Marijuana Policy Project conducted July 25-27 showed that Missourians support the initiative by a margin of 66-27%.

The proposal would allow only state licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients with cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, spinal-cord injuries and other serious or debilitating medical conditions. The state would license and regulate those who are allowed to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. The measure would maintain the prohibition of marijuana use in public and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

Under the proposal, medical marijuana sales would be taxed at 4%, which is estimated to generate roughly $20 million annually for veterans’ health care services in Missouri.
Thanks for your support,

John Payne
Campaign Manager
New Approach Missouri

Prosecutors to Drop Charges Against Oregon Teen Devontre Thomas

Oregon leaf

Even those that don’t support legalizing cannabis were hard pressed to support the federal government threatening Oregon teen Devontre Thomas with a year long prison term over about a gram of marijuana. Drug War reform advocates and concerned citizens across the nation were frankly appalled of such a harsh sentence facing a nonviolent teenager in a state that had legalized cannabis with over 56% of the vote in 2014.

Thomas’ attorney, Ruben Iniguez worked tirelessly for his client and he left me a message stating that the charges would be dismissed in 60 days so long as Thomas stayed out of trouble and stayed employed and/or in school, conditions he was confident the teen would fulfill. Iniguez thanked advocates for reaching out and offering to help with Thomas’ case.

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer, who should be commended for speaking out in favor of sensible cannabis laws, all expressed their concern over Thomas’ pending charges. Congressman Blumenauer released a press release today:

Blumenauer Statement on U.S. Attorney Decision to Drop Charges Against Oregonian Teen for Marijuana

Portland, Ore. – Today, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement on the decision by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon to drop charges against Oregonian teen, Devontre Thomas, for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

“While I am pleased to see the U.S. Attorney drop the charges in the case of 19-year-old Devontre Thomas, I’m still concerned that this Office thought it was worth prosecuting in the first place. My hope is that this sets a precedent that federal prosecutors should not be wasting time and resources on low level marijuana crimes.”

Recently, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer led a letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, expressing concerns about the drug prosecution priorities of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

It is great news that Devontre Thomas can put this unfortunate plight behind him and get on with his life in a couple of months. Like Congressman Blumenauer stated, hopefully this case will set a precedent and U.S. Attorneys across the nation will stop bringing these wasteful cases against nonviolent citizens.

This post was originally published by New Approach Oregon, reposted with special permission. 

Leafly Presents Ron Funches Tonight in Portland for Free!

RonFunches

RSVP for FREE tickets to see Ron Funches tonight in Portland!

Comedian Ron Funches cut his comedic chops in the Portland, Oregon, comedy scene before moving to Los Angeles and promptly blowing up. He landed a gig in the comedy sitcom Undateable and he has been one of the funniest comics to grace Comedy Central’s @midnight with Chris Hardwick. Funches has even made it onto the big screen with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell in Get Hard, will be voicing a space alien in Home an animated series starting on Netflix tomorrow before adding his voice to Justin Timberlake’s in the upcoming Trolls movie.

Funches is a comedic legend in Portland, and while I never got a chance to see him while he was living in the City of Roses, I’ll be able to make up for that tonight. So if you aren’t going to watch the DNC tonight, RSVP for tickets and get to the Wonder Ballroom when the doors open. Or, if you are a political junkie, head on over just after Hillary Clinton gives her big speech tonight and you should still be able to catch Funches bring many laughs to the city he once called home.

In an interview with The Oregonian, Funches gives California the nod over Oregon when it comes to cannabis because he doesn’t like the limited amounts you are able to buy in the Beaver State, while the limit in the Golden State, at least in the dispensaries Funches visits, is “how much can you carry.” So, the challenge is on, Oregon cannabis community, feel free to share legal amounts (out of public view, of course) with Ron Funches tonight, and let him know that California may have better quantity limits for now, but Oregon’s quality can match any state.

Check out the best of Ron Funches’ At Midnight performances:

Green Rush Consulting Responds to The Oregonian Article Detailing Investigation

GreenRushConsulting

My experience in the cannabis movement and industry has brought me together with some of the best people that I have met in my life. Most cannabis law reformers and industry participants, in my experience, tend to be very open-minded and cognizant of the need to act in the best interests of the movement at large. Of course, there are bad actors, just as there are bad actors in any movement or industry. Noelle Crombie, just published a very thorough story detailing an Oregon fraud investigation involving the Cannacea and Green Rush Consulting. I welcome stories such as these as it is imperative for the cannabis industry to expose those that aren’t honest and trustworthy.

As Crombie reported, a letter from an Oregon regulator declared that Cannacea’s Tisha Siler had won approval of her applications for multiple medical marijuana dispensary licenses; this letter was then used to attract investors:

Cannacea soon had a group of backers who were drawn to the state’s new recreational pot trade and the tantalizing prospect of sharing in a booming market expected to generate an estimated $181.2 million this year.

That vision of wealth unraveled. Relationships soured between Siler, a self-described herbalist and holistic counselor, and many of those she hoped would bankroll her operation. The venture spiraled into nasty accusations, multiple court claims against Siler and her dispensary and demands from investors that she return their money, according to court documents and the state’s investigative file on the case released to The Oregonian/OregonLive in response to a public records request.

No one disputes that the letter was fake. But no one admits to writing it and state investigators can’t pinpoint the author.

I do not know all of the facts of the case, but in my experience with Zeta Ceti, owner of Green Rush Consulting, he has been a standup guy who cares about doing what is best for the cannabis cause. The biggest issue in this case is the fact that a fake letter was produced that exaggerated the number of licenses awarded to Ms. Siler. I, like others, look forward for the state to conclude its investigation so all of the facts can be known; it will be great if a forensic analysis can uncover the true source of the fake letter.

Green Rush Consulting sent out a press release responding to The Oregonian’s article, and it is in full below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JULY 11th 2016

Green Rush Consulting Response to Oregonian Article

http://www.oregonlive.com/marijuana/index.ssf/2016/07/pot_dispenary_is_target_in_ore.html

(Oakland, CA) – Green Rush Consulting (GRC) was recently mentioned in a news article in Oregon that concerns Cannacea, a retail cannabis store that operated in Portland, Oregon. In 2014, Cannacea contracted GRC to compile some of the documents used to communicate her business vision and operations plans to investors. GRC has since learned that some of the documents that Cannacea’s founder provided to GRC were fraudulent.

Officials with Oregon’s Office of Consumer and Business Services have been investigating Tisha Siler, CEO of Cannacea, and GRC has been cooperating fully with this investigation since it began last year. GRC only learned that the documents were fraudulent when the Office of Consumer and Business Services opened its investigation and contacted GRC regarding its relationship with Siler and Cannacea.

This is an ongoing investigation in which Green Rush Consulting maintains it was also a victim of Ms. Siler’s fraud. However, GRC made a mistake in that it was not robust enough in conducting strong due diligence on both contractor and client. GRC has paid dearly for those failures of 2014, in which the company implemented changes within the organization to ensure that nothing like this happens again. When the investigation is complete, we are confident that our credibility and reputation will be intact.

GRC has implemented substantially more rigorous background checks and due diligence policies on its employees, contract consultants, clients, and business partners. We strongly encourage all companies and individuals in the cannabis industry to do the same. White-collar crime in this industry is a threat to all of us, and we need to perform due diligence in every aspect of our business operations in order to avoid it and help prevent it. It is at the core of our mission to operate with integrity and to protect others in this space from the hard lessons we have learned.

Green Rush Consulting stands by our services and the strong reputation we have built over the last 4 years in this industry.  Since 2012, our company has helped clients win licenses for medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation operations in eight states. Our team members have worked on licensing applications in 9 states – Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington – and we have never had an application disqualified. Our consultants have collectively participated in winning more than 30 state licenses nationwide.

While it is unfortunate that GRC was caught up in this fraudulent scheme, it gives us the opportunity to help raise awareness of fraud and white-collar crimes that do and could continue to infect this fast-paced, growing industry.

We want to thank the Oregonian for bringing this complex issue to light, as it is an important lesson for the entire cannabis industry. We sincerely hope that other companies and operators in the cannabis space will learn from this unfortunate situation that impacted GRC, and will do everything possible to protect themselves from individuals and organizations that could cause damage to their companies, brands, and the progression of the cannabis movement.

Green Rush Consulting LLC. Is located at 2700 International Blvd. Suite 25 in Oakland’s Fruitvale District. For more information call (510) 479-7327 or visit www.greenrushconsulting.com.

The Supreme Court Decimated the Fourth Amendment

US Supreme Court

Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court just utterly decimated the federal Fourth Amendment, especially for those who are often targeted for law enforcement stops as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in her dissent: “This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants — even if you are doing nothing wrong.”

The chilling effect of Utah v. Strieff, No. 14-1373, will be felt harshest by those that are frequently stopped unnecessarily by law enforcement, namely people of color, and low-income people, regardless of color. Of course, most bad political decisions unfairly harm the poor and communities of color, so we shouldn’t be surprised. However, to those that live under the constant threat of police encounters, it is hard to find a case that would do as much damage as the ruling in Utah v. Strieff completely excuses unlawful law enforcement stops.

As The New York Times describes the facts of the case:

A police officer, Douglas Fackrell, stopped Edward Strieff after he had left the house based on what the state later conceded were insufficient grounds, making the stop unlawful.

Officer Fackrell then ran a check and discovered a warrant for a minor traffic violation. He arrested Mr. Strieff, searched him and found a baggie containing methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia. The question for the justices was whether the drugs must be suppressed given the unlawful stop or whether they could be used as evidence given the arrest warrant.

By ruling that the evidence gained from an illegal traffic stop may be used, the United States Supreme Court just gave carte blanche to police forces all across the country, including those with troubling histories, such as those in Ferguson Missouri, and Oakland, California, to stop anyone they want and run their name for existing warrants. Of course, people of color, will be more likely to be stopped, and people battling poverty will be more likely to have outstanding parking tickets that they haven’t been able to pay.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned an epic dissent that describes the dangers of this terrible ruling:

“For generations, black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk’ — instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger — all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them. See, e.g., W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903); J. Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963); T. Coates, Between the World and Me (2015).

“By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.

“We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are ‘isolated.’ They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.”

While the Strieff case dealt with a baggie of meth, this tarnishing of the Fourth Amendment will fall hardest on the cannabis community, the most used illicit substance in the world. Civil libertarians often warn of slippery slope decisions, but it is hard to see how this case doesn’t lead to more and more unjust law enforcement encounters, and most tragically, more lethal police encounters.

 

Senate Committee Passes Cannabis Banking Amendment: Why Did California Senator Dianne Feinstein Vote No?

banking

I want to sincerely thank Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley for leading the way on bipartisan, common amendment that allows banking access to state-regulated cannabis businesses. Senator Merkley understands the dangers that the banking prohibition has on businesses. Not only does large amount of cash present an enticing opportunity for thieves, but also provides ample opportunity for money laundering and tax evasion.

From Tom Angell over at Marijuana.com:

The measure is now attached to the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which heads to the Senate floor.

In a brief debate ahead of the vote, amendment sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that not allowing marijuana businesses to store their profits in banks is a public safety threat.

“It makes no sense to have bags of cash, and it’s an invitation to organized crime, an invitation to theft, and invitation to tax evasion,” he said.

Allowing banking services to businesses operating legally under state law should be a no-brainer.  Three Republicans joined 13 Democrats, as the banking amendment passed the committee vote by a narrow 16-14 margin. One big question: Why did California Senator Dianne Feinstein vote “No” along with 13 Republicans?

Cannabis commerce already generates more than a billion dollars in sales annually in the Golden State, and that is only medical. If legalization passes this November, then California cannabis commerce will dwarf the sales of other states.

I hope that Democratic primary voters choose a candidate that better represents Californians. Denying banking access to cannabis businesses is a harmful and dangerous policy and Senator Feinstein should be held accountable.

Oregon Legalizes Marijuana-Infused Products, Police Announce Patrols

Clackamas County Sheriff

The sale of marijuana flower to all adults started last October and the program has been a raging success for Oregon, creating thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in additional revenue. Even more jobs and revenue will be created after cannabis businesses started selling cannabis-infused edibles, extracts and topicals to all adults over the age of 21 on June 2nd. Coinciding with the sale of these additional products, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office announced that Oregon law enforcement would be using enhanced patrols this weekend with an emphasis on targeting marijuana impairment.

New Approach Oregon posted about the enhanced patrols and sent out an email to over 37,000 legalization supporters:

Yesterday was a historic day for the Oregon cannabis industry as cannabis-infused edibles, extracts and topicals went on sale to all adults. These new products will create even more jobs and generate more revenue for our state and will provide an avenue for some patients that cannot acquire a medical marijuana card, to utilize more products medicinally.

We here at New Approach Oregon want everyone to be safe and one of the biggest reasons to legalize marijuana is to improve public safety as our state can better prioritize resources on more serious crimes. Driving while impaired from any substance remains a crime in Oregon and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office posted a bulletin yesterday that law enforcement officers will be conducting enhanced patrols following the sale of marijuana-infused products to all adults.

The bulletin makes some mistakes, such as stating that marijuana just started being sold commercially, but we agree that people shouldn’t drive impaired and that we should all do all that we can to minimize traffic fatalities. We want to keep Oregon roads safe, keep people out of prison and continue to help demonstrate to voters across the nation and globe that cannabis can be legalized without the sky falling, as prohibitionists like to claim. So enjoy Oregon’s fine cannabis products, but be responsible, don’t drive impaired and don’t let your friends drive impaired.

Sheriff’s Office warns: Don’t drive impaired while consuming marijuana06/02/16

Today (June 2, 2016), marijuana will begin to be commercially sold in the State of Oregon. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to use marijuana in a responsible manner. Additionally, operating a vehicle after consuming marijuana in any fashion is just as dangerous and illegal as driving while drunk.

Marijuana is a substance that can adversely impair a person’s ability to safely drive a motor vehicle and can contribute to crashes, often resulting in serious injuries and even death. Marijuana can impair the user for a period of up to 24 hours — so please plan ahead to have a sober driver or a place to stay the night.

During this upcoming weekend, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will be joining other law-enforcement agencies in providing enhanced patrols in order to ensure the continued safety of the citizens we serve. Between June 2 and June 5, deputies assigned to this DUII task force will have an emphasized focus on enforcing traffic safety laws, while also detecting and arresting impaired drivers.

The men and women with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office would like to ask the public that if you or a loved one consumes marijuana, or any other intoxicating substance, please use a designated driver. Likewise, if you notice dangerous driving behaviors, please call 911.

Our goal is to have zero traffic fatalities in Clackamas County, and we wish everyone a happy and safe weekend.

Five Zero Trees
Enjoy all of the new products available to adults over the age of 21, but use responsibly and never drive impaired.

 

 

Everybody Bern! Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers

Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers

Despite the political establishment and mainstream pundits calling for Bernie Sanders to drop out of his race against Hillary Clinton, Bernie, and millions of supporters, are still fighting for the political revolution. Propelled by an upset victory in Indiana, Bernie Sanders, now sensing momentum behind his insurgent campaign, proclaimed, “I think that we can pull off one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States.” It’s time to roll with Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers!

There are many ways to show your support for Bernie Sanders and the political revolution that he is leading. Many cannabis law reformers have been supporting Sanders because he has called for an end to the federal war on the cannabis community by removing marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances. If you are a member of the cannabis community and you feel the Bern, you can help spread the message by using Everybody Bern! Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers.

Everybody Bern! Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers

You can purchase Everybody Bern! rolling papers by visiting www.everybodybern.com and purchasing a case of 22 packs of papers for just $70, which includes free shipping and handling throughout the continental United States. While Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both stated that they would respect states that have legalized marijuana, they don’t go nearly as far as Bernie Sanders, who wants to end the failed and harmful policy of federal cannabis prohibition and reform the War on Drugs. Show your support for the only mainstream candidate calling to end the federal war that has been waged upon the cannabis community, check out www.everybodybern.com for Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers!

Everybody Bern! Bernie Sanders Rolling Papers
BUY A BOX OF 22 FOR $85 (SHIPPING INCLUDED!) OF THE BEST PAPERS IN THE WORLD


Quantity

Help convince Deschutes County Commissioners to respect the will of the voters who passed Measure 91.

New Approach Oregon Logo

As we previously mentioned, Deschutes County Commissioners are deciding whether to implement regulations for cannabis businesses – or force voters into a costly and divisive ballot measure fight through an “opt out” referral. Your voices are being heard and are making a HUGE difference already. County commissioners have received numerous emails and heard four hours of public testimony. Tomorrow, they will start deliberating on whether to implement sensible rules, creating jobs, generating revenue and fulfilling the will of voters or subvert Measure 91, hurt small businesses and push patients and consumers into the illicit, unregulated market.

As OPB reported:

Supporters of the proposed rules said the marijuana industry will bring economic benefits and tax revenue to the region.

Business owner Brian Jones said the marijuana industry will provide new jobs.

“These are living wage jobs,” said Jones. “Potentially lifelong careers, and will come with all of the perks and benefits of any other industry. It is clear that if the committee chooses to opt out, then it is opting out on jobs.”

County commissioners will deliberate over the proposed regulations this week, but may not immediately issue a decision about the proposed rules.

No matter where you live, please tell the Deschutes Board of County Commissioners to implement responsible cannabis business regulations now. Send an e-mail to board@deschutes.org and remind them that:

  • Deschutes County voters already approved Measure 91 because they support licensed and regulated cannabis businesses.
  • The Deschutes County Marijuana Advisory Committee has reached consensus on numerous issues, in particular on light, sound and odor regulations for cannabis farming. They have successfully addressed the primary concerns of neighbors with proposed regulations that safeguard the quality of life enjoyed by all in beautiful Central Oregon.
  • It is now time for the county to end the harmful delay on licensing for cannabis businesses. Deschutes County voters approved Measure 91 because they know that responsibly regulated cannabis businesses are the key to public safety, jobs and economic opportunity.
  • Voters do NOT want a costly and divisive “do over” ballot measure. A recent poll found that 53% of Deschutes County voters now support legal marijuana and a strong 61% want the county to implement regulations, versus only 28% of county voters who want to put the issue to a vote…again.

Please help the local businesses, patients and consumers that live in Deschutes County. By a more than 2 to 1 margin, voters want Deschutes County Commissioners to respect the will of the voters and implement rules and regulations. Email the commissioners and continue to make the voices of voters, consumers and patients heard loud and clear!

Thank you!

P.S. Over the coming days, weeks and months, will be sending out notices for other cities and counties facing bans as well as supporting candidates that are working towards sensible cannabis. If you are able, please make a donation and support us as we continue to work towards marijuana policies that work for all Oregonians.

(This blog post was originally posted at New Approach Oregon; reposted here with special permission)

Benefits of Gusbandry: Portland Web Series Takes on Relationships With Exes, Current Gay Husbands and Ganja

benefits of gusbandry

The Benefits of Gusbandry has been garnering some well-deserved praise recently as the Portland-based web series, featuring local acting and musical talent, is hilarious, fearless and provocative. A very adult comedy, the series features the protagonist Jackie, played by Totman (of MADtv fame), as she turns 40 and fosters a close relationship with River, a gay man who becomes her “gay husband,” or “gusband,” following a breakup. As Jackie navigates getting back into the dating world, River and cannabis are her constant companions. I cannot recommend this series enough. You can view all of 6 episodes on YouTube. I was honored to have a brief cameo with my wife Sarah Duff that included our stop into the Panacea dispensary in Portland. We are friends with creator Alicia Rose and lead actor Kurt Conroyd, so you may consider me biased, so you don’t have to take my word for it as The New York Times called the series a “delirious 16-minute masterpiece”:

The Benefits of Gusbandry This series by Alicia J. Rose, which has just posted its first-season finale (the sixth episode), works the straight-gay friendship thing deliciously, thanks to sharp writing and spirited performances by Brooke Totman and Kurt Conroyd. She’s Jackie, a world-weary straight woman in Oregon who has just turned 40, isn’t happy about it and tends to escape her discontent with marijuana, newly legalized. He’s River, who is gay, unattached and in the same age bracket.

They meet in Episode 1 and soon bond, helping each other through various crises and explorations. This dynamic — straight character with a gay BFF — has been around a while, but this rendition (like the one in Hulu’s caustic“Difficult People”) is more catty and crass than anything on network television, which gives the series a sharp edge. River is something of a stereotype, but that stereotype is one of Ms. Rose’s targets, along with pompous artists, weed aficionados, self-denigrating 40-somethings and gusbandry itself. The season finale is a delirious 16-minute masterpiece of pretension-puncturing.

Please check out this amazingly hilarious comedy that is raunchy, but realistically true to our modern scene. You will not be disappointed in a series that some have compared to “Broad City.” Hopefully, you’ll laugh as hard as I have and we’ll see more and more from these talented folks in future seasons of a show that, in my humble opinion, is more Portland than “Portlandia.”

The newly released “Benefits of Gusbandry” finale:

Maine Voters Will Get to Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

Maine CRMLA

The marijuana legalization effort in Maine has undergone some ups and downs, with the secretary of state at one time wrongly invalidating thousands of initiative petition signatures. Just as we had hoped, Maine courts overturned the secretary of state’s decision and ordered a new count of the signatures. Thankfully, Maine voters will now have the opportunity to end the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition this November.

The press release from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announcing qualification of their legalization initiative:

Maine Marijuana Initiative Officially Qualifies for November Ballot; New Poll Finds Solid Support Among Likely Voters

After a court-ordered review of petitions that it had previously invalidated, the Secretary of State’s Office determined initiative supporters submitted more than enough valid signatures to qualify

* Statement below from Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Campaign Manager David Boyer *
AUGUSTA, Maine — State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People’s Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it. The full results are available at https://www.mprc.me/0416_referendums.

Statement from David Boyer, campaign manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:

“This November, Maine voters will have the opportunity to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy. We are thrilled to finally start transitioning into the more substantive phase of this campaign. It has been a longer wait than expected, but nothing compared to how long the people of Maine have been waiting to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.

“It is time to replace the underground market with a regulated system of licensed marijuana businesses. It is time to redirect our state’s limited law enforcement resources toward addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition policies. And it is time to stop punishing adults for using a substance that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.”

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateMaine.org.

Too Little Too Late? Bernie Sanders Hints at Elizabeth Warren as VP.

ElizabethWarrenBernieSanders

I’ve been a huge supporter for Bernie Sanders’ political revolution as his call to end federal cannabis prohibition, reform the Drug War and tackle civil rights abuses have been far and away the best of any mainstream candidate, especially after Republican Rand Paul dropped out of the race. Hillary Clinton, evolving from her unfortunate rhetoric in the early 1990s and 2008 presidential primary positions, has seemingly improved on cannabis policy and other criminal justice reforms, but she still lags behind the Democratic Party and the nation on marijuana legalization.

As the delegate math was looking bleak for Bernie Sanders’ attempt to to overtake the Democratic front-runner, even before Clinton won four out of five states on April 26th, Sanders has thrown out Elizabeth Warren as a possible running mate, a name that makes progressives salivate. As The Los Angeles Times reports:

“Elizabeth Warren, I think, has been a real champion in standing up for working families, taking on Wall Street,” Sanders said in an interview with MSNBC.

The Democratic presidential candidate said it’s too early to commit to a possible running mate, but that he thinks there are “many” qualified women for the position. He also reiterated that a presidential candidate needs to have “the guts” to take on Wall Street, perhaps Warren’s chief issue.

“The women of this country, the people of this country understand that it would be a great idea to have a woman as vice president, something I would give very, very serious thought to,” he said.

A Sanders-Warren ticket makes a lot of sense for a ton of reasons. Both progressives have shared a common distaste for Wall Street corruption and are champions of ending income inequality. Elizabeth Warren, even with much in common with Sanders, is seen as the more pragmatic Senator and she could expertly describe what needs to be done to implement Sanders’ domestic vision of ending Wall Street abuses and any notion of businesses are allowed to be “too big to fail.”

For criminal justice reformers, Warren has moved in the right direction and is open to marijuana legalization. Of course, many Democrats long to see a woman in the White House and a Warren vice-presidency would set up the progressive senator as a future commander-in-chief. As much as progressives would love to see a Sanders-Warren team campaigning for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we will likely be left wondering if this proclamation from Bernie Sanders was too little too late.

Featured Photo Credit: Getty Images