First, there was Smoke Buddy, a medical marijuana cart driving around Portland, Oregon, neighborhoods providing free cannabis, but charging for the jars. Some licensed medical marijuana dispensary owners complained about the cart, considering it unfair that someone could bypass the fees, rules and regulations they deal with through some type of perceived loophole. The Oregon Health Authority, the state agency that regulates Oregon’s medical cannabis system deemed any type of mobile dispensary illegal, but leaving the issue for law enforcement to contend with. Unfortunately, the proprietors of Smoke Buddy were the victims of a robbery. No word, as of yet, on whether Smoke Buddy is back up and operating.
Now, folks are utilizing Craigslist, possibly believing that they have secured a loophole in Oregon law, by claiming that the marijuana is free, but the baggie that the marijuana comes in, costs money. Somehow, the cost of the baggie, be it $25, $50, or $100, seems to corresponds with how much marijuana is in the bag. KOIN 6 reports:
“The concern of having marijuana for sale on, say, Craigslist is that it can be accessible to just about anyone,” Jonathan Modie with the Oregon Health Authority said. “Kids could buy it.”
For the record, Modie says private marijuana sales on websites like Craigslist are illegal altogether. But who goes after those selling it online?
According to the OHA and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, it’s essentially a police issue.
Illegally selling less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor and can lead to an arrest and prison time. These Craigslist marijuana dealers are probably aware that police in Portland have bigger fish to fry than people selling less than an ounce on the internet. However, these Craigslist dealers are doing a great disservice to the voters, activists and legislators that helped create the best marijuana law in the country. Illegally selling marijuana, even after the passage of the Measure 91 legalization initiative, still remained a felony offense. Thanks to the passage of Measure 91, a majority of Oregon legislators were convinced to decrease marijuana penalties even further, downgrading unlawful delivery of marijuana to an adult a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, so long as not within 1,000 feet of a school, in House Bill 3400.
Advocates had to expend time, money and political capital lobbying the Oregon Legislature to decrease criminal penalties even further in House Bill 3400. By exploiting our new freedoms and sensible laws by openly selling marijuana, or baggies that just happen to contain marijuana, these actions give fodder to prohibitionists and can easily lead to voter backlash and hurt the efforts of other states that hope to join Oregon in the new future with their own legalization measures.