Marijuana Activist a Finalist for 2015 Oregon Person of the Year

   

Cannabis law reform activist (and Marijuana Politics blogger) Cyd Maurer, the former KEZI TV anchor, made national headlines when she went public about her firing for her personal marijuana use. Maurer, a University of Oregon graduate, born and raised in Oregon, was a rising star at the Eugene news station, when a minor fender bender derailed her news media career, but opened up avenues in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Recognizing the news-worthiness of her story, The Oregonian has nominated Cyd Maurer as on of their 25 candidates for the 2015 Oregonian of the Year.

It is a very telling situation when a TV news anchor has to be their own driver and camera person, but that is the state of the news media today and Cyd was forced to be a jack-of-all-trades at KEZI. A minor bump to a another vehicle turned Maurer’s life upside down and she soul-searched about her next steps, both personally and professionally. Luckily for the cannabis law reform movement, Cyd decided to go public with her experience and use her voice and talents to fight for freedom and equality for the cannabis community. She started a website, www.askmeaboutmarijuana.com, filmed a short video titled “How I Went From Local News Anchor to Marijuana Activist” and the rest is history.

 

Despite marijuana being legal in Oregon, there isn’t true equality in a number of facets of life. Employers can fire you for your legal use of cannabis, even though the use was on your personal time and didn’t impact your job performance in anyway. As Maurer describes in her video, her termination from KEZI didn’t come from anyone who actually knew her work ethic and performance, she was fired because of an outdated corporate policy against any cannabis use. And while employers do have the ability to set up their own workplace drug policies, the cannabis community is most discriminated against because inactive THC metabolites can be detected up to 30 days after usage.

I got a chance to talk with a very surprised-to-be-nominated Cyd this morning. As Cyd acknowledged to me, the 2015 Oregon Person of the Year should be Chris Mintz, who put himself in harm’s way to protect others during the Umpqua Community College shooting, and she found it to be a little intimidating to be on a list with such a “true hero.”

“I’m honored to be listed, but this isn’t about me,” Cyd told me. “My story just happened to resonate with people because the cannabis community is still fighting for true equality. My whole reason for going public was to help end the stigma surrounding cannabis use. I just hope that I can be a positive asset for the movement.”

“I was definitely surprised when I started getting messages about the nomination and I think that it is great that people care a lot about the issue,” Ms. Maurer continued. “My story and this nomination reflect the need to continue the conversation around drug testing policies and cannabis law reform in general. While honored for the write-up, the description still demonstrated the stigma, implying that I had to ‘learn the hard way’. I didn’t have to learn the policy, I knew that policy, but simply prefer to responsibly use cannabis. We are winning, but there is still much to be done.”

I have gotten to know Cyd a bit and have found her to be very smart, passionate and caring. While a lot of people in her situation would be looking for easy ways to cash in on his or her 15 minutes, Cyd Maurer, wants to do the right thing for the cannabis community. She wants to use her public voice to further end the stigma surrounding marijuana and to soon see a day where there is true freedom and equality for the cannabis community. While Chris Mintz is hands-down the deserving 2015 Oregonian of the Year, I am grateful for Cyd Maurer and am glad that her “coming out of the cannabis closet story” is being recognized.

Cyd Maurer with the great folks at the Greener Side in Eugene on the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales in Oregon.
Cyd Maurer with the great folks at the Greener Side in Eugene on the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales in Oregon.

 

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.