Oregon Launches Educate Before You Recreate Campaign


Many people have been concerned about the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) regulating cannabis commerce in Oregon and I completely understand their concerns as it is hard to trust any government agency with the task. However, I must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised by the dedication of the OLCC. I see an agency that is engaged with the cannabis community and wants Oregon’s regulated marijuana system to work effectively. Very important to the Oregon cannabis community, the OLCC hasn’t demonstrated any intention of regulating the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) or the personal cultivation of cannabis allowed under the Measure 91 legalization law, following some shake-ups in state government and at the OLCC.

(A quick aside: Many advocates that I know, respect and love, feel that “recreational” is a bad term to use for responsible, adult use of cannabis. They believe that recreational has bad connotations and hinders our fight for freedom. I don’t have any polling to know how voters feel about the issue, but my gut tells me that it doesn’t hurt our cause. Most people like to recreate and have fun and I don’t think that sales of RVs have been hurt by being deemed “recreational” vehicles. I could be wrong and I do try to use terms such as “responsible use” or “adult use”, but I don’t think that cannabis legalization is being held back by the term “recreational”.)

The OLCC has launched an “Educate Before You Recreate” campaign that gives Oregonians, and those traveling to the amazing Beaver State, the basics about the upcoming legalization law that finally goes into effect on July 1st. From Northwest Public Radio:

Recreational marijuana will soon be legal to use in Oregon and the state Tuesday unveiled a public education campaign meant to help people understand the new law.

The ad campaign is aimed at 18-to-35 year-olds. It uses social media and commercials. One ad says, “Starting July 1, adults 21 and older in Oregon can possess and use recreational marijuana at home or on private property. But public use is still illegal.”

Oregon’s legalization law is still being poked, prodded and kicked around by the Oregon Legislature (some things for the worse, others for the better), so the add rightly has a disclaimer and asks folks to check back in for more details. I sincerely commend the OLCC for getting good information out to people and to encourage the cannabis community to stay engaged so they don’t find themselves on the wrong side of the law. For more info, be sure to go to the WhatsLegalOregon.com website to sign-up or “Like” the campaign on Facebook. And please spread the word.

While the fight to end cannabis prohibition has had its ups and downs and will continue to take vigilance from advocates and concerned citizens, I am proud that tens of thousands of people will have their lives dramatically improved in Oregon due to Measure 91. Additionally, a successful rollout will help further the momentum for legalization across the country, so other states can follow suit and we can eventually end prohibition federally.

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.