Surprise! Oregon’s Marijuana Experts May Have Been Busted For Marijuana


I was enraged when I read an article in the Bend Bulletin about the new Rules Advisory Committee for implementing legal marijuana in Oregon. The article was entitled “To form new marijuana laws, state picks from group that broke old ones”.

“A review by The Bulletin of the members’ backgrounds shows several members of the panels have been ensnared by law enforcement for what at the time were crimes involving marijuana,” they write without any hint of awareness that in order to become an expert in marijuana before now, you had to break the law.

I must have a different definition of “several”. To open, the article notes that Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of Measure 91 (and, full disclosure, a writer for this website and my friend), is on the committee. As of course he should be, since he helped write the law being implemented! Yet Johnson has never been ensnared by law enforcement for marijuana crimes.

Then we learn about Brent Kenyon, who has been convicted of marijuana sales in 2008 and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor delivery charges in 1995. As The Count on Sesame Street would say, “One! One marijuana criminal! Bwaa ha ha ha!”

Then we learn about Cedar Grey, who was charged with marijuana crimes in 2001 and 2007, but had all charges dismissed since he was obeying the medical marijuana law. In other words, not a marijuana criminal.

Then we learn about Don Morse, who was convicted of misdemeanor possession in a case involving the medical marijuana dispensary he was running in Washington County just months before dispensaries were made legal. A dispensary he and his partner opened up to inspection by state and local authorities and which was cited as being a model for how a legal dispensary system could work. “Two! Two marijuana criminals! That makes it ‘several’! Bwaa ha ha ha!”

Here’s my idea for another Bend Bulletin article: “To form new marijuana laws, state packs panel with groups that opposed them.”

Imagine, delving into the fact that at least three of the five members of the OLCC publicly admit to having opposed Measure 91, including the chair, Rob Patridge, the Klamath County District Attorney tasked with prosecuting marijuana cases.

We could also learn how one of the RAC is Doug Breidenthal, Jackson County commissioner, who believes under legal marijuana “child abuse and domestic violence cases will rise” and voted to tax marijuana locally, in opposition to Measure 91 but in lockstep with the League of Oregon Cities and the Association of Oregon Counties who are lobbying to gut Measure 91.

We could learn how one of the RAC is Jeff Kuhns of the Keizer Police Department, who, when it comes to card-holding medical marijuana patients, asks, “Can’t health inspectors walk into restaurant kitchens to do inspections without the consent of the proprietor? Doesn’t the fire marshal have the authority to inspect buildings without the consent of the owner? Individuals issued cards by the State of Oregon should know they too could be inspected in much the same fashion.”

We could learn how one of the RAC is Craig Roberts, Sheriff of Clackamas County, whose own employee was caught trafficking marijuana and drugs right under Sheriff Roberts’ nose.

We could learn how one of the RAC is Paul Frazier from Coos County, another of the 36 Oregon District Attorneys who voted unanimously to oppose the last two attempts at statewide legalization, and wrote “looks OK to me” in approving a ballot statement that included “claims that major tax revenues be will made or that current law enforcement revenue will be freed up [by marijuana legalization] are either fantasy or fraud.”

We could learn how one of the RAC is Kevin Wulruff from Medford Police Department, who thinks medical marijuana cardholders should just invite police into their homes for warrantless searches, as he told The Oregonian, “We will ask to do a compliance check and look at their cards and count the plants make sure they have enough cards for the plants.” (“Compliance check” is a term cops use to frighten medical marijuana cardholders into thinking the law allows them to do such a thing.)

We could learn how one of the RAC is Alan Rappleyea, who as Washington County counsel helped usher in a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. Bonus! Rappleyea must have had some influence on the Don Morse case in Washington County… won’t that be a fun face-to-face?

Funny how out of 500 applicants with in-depth knowledge of marijuana to fill fifteen positions, the OLCC manages to choose only two with criminal records. Funny how becoming an expert in marijuana sales and cultivation required breaking the law. Funny how the Bend Bulletin chooses to frame the selection of RAC members while every other Oregon news outlet simply reported who they were. All of them.

Russ Belville

"Radical" Russ Belville is a blogger, podcaster, and host of The Russ Belville Show, a daily two-hour talk radio show focused on the evolution of the legal marijuana industry in the United States. The program is airing live at 3pm Pacific Time from Portland, Oregon, on, with podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Russ began his marijuana activism in 2005 with Oregon NORML, then in 2009 went on to work for National NORML, and found and direct Portland 2015.