By Steve Elliott
Senate Bill 460, to allow the limited sale of recreational marijuana at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries beginning October 1, passed the Oregon Legislature with a Thursday vote in the House.
The measure, which had already clerared the Senate, passed the House on a 40 to 18 vote, reports Larry Meyer at The Argus Observer. Recreational marijuana sales would otherwise have had to wait until the Oregon Liquor Control Commission got the rules in place sometime next year, leaving customers to buy it through the black market.
Noting that cannabis sales won't be taxed until January, Democratic Rep. Andy Olson said it will take time to get a tax structure in place. The "tax holiday" will help encourage consumers to get their marijuana from a licensed dispensary, wheere it will have been lab tested, rather than on the black market.
State Rep. Cliff Bentz, a Republican from Ontario, Oregon, was one of the 18 "no" votes on SB 460. Bentz said he's "long suspected" that many medical marijuana patients are faking; he cluelessly claimed that this measure "puts the state's blessing" on that.
Bentz also voted against another successful resolution which asked the U.S. Congress to take marijuana off the schedule of controlled substances and allow the cannabis industry access to the federal banking system.
By Steve Elliott
If cannabis and alcohol are both legal for adult consumption, it would only make sense that it's OK to consume both of them socially in a bar -- wouldn't it?
That's the thinking behind a campaign underway in Denver to ask voters about allowing marijuana use in bars and other places that only allow adults over 21, reports Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press.
Activists need about 5,000 signatures in order to qualify the question for this November's ballots.
The initiative would allow bars to permit cannabis use as long as customers bring their own stash and obey clean-air laws. That translates to either bringing marijuana infused edibles, or smoking outside on the patio, the way tobacco is regulated now. Outside smoking sites couldn't be publicly visible.
"Marijuana's now a legal product for adults in Denver, and it's really time that we give adults a place to use it legally and socially," said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which led the 2012 Amendment 64 campaign to legalize recreational cannabis in the state.
"We shouldn't be requiring that you sit at home if you choose to use marijuana as an adult," Tvert said.
Recreational cannabis consumption is illegal in Colorado if used "openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others." But the law doesn't bar use in private, 21+ clubs; the Denver measure would just clarify what qualifies as a private club.
By Steve Elliott
A bill simplifying the tax scheme for marijuana was signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday. HB 2136, which the Legislature approved last week, also significantly loosens the rules on buffer zones that have kept recreational I-502 marijuana shops away from many dense commercial areas.
As originally approved by voters, I-502 taxed recreational marijuana at three tiers: producers (growers), processors (curing), and retail. Under the new scheme, the three-level tax system has been collapsed into one 37 percent point-of sale tax, reports Bryan Cohen at Capitol Hill Seattle. According to Ian Eisenberg, proprietor of Capitol Hill recreational marijuana shop Uncle Ike's, his customers won't see much of a change in pricing due at 37 percent tax.
I-502 originally stated recreational marijuana stores can't be located within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and other public gathering places. Localities could soon have the power to bring that buffer down to 100 feet under HB 2136
The 1,000-foot buffer greatly restricted permitted locations for marijuana retail; it was written as an attempt to placate federal officials, who have released guidelines under which the Obama Administration won't go after state-legal pot shops, including just such a buffer zone. There are specific penalties for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of schools under federal sentencing guidelines.
Oregon Rewrites Marijuana Criminal Code to Reduce Most Felonies to Misdemeanors and to Make Prior Convictions Eligible to be Cleared
Law Goes Beyond Other Legalization States to Reduce Harsh Marijuana Sentences and Allow for 78,319 Prior Marijuana Convictions to Potentially be Cleared
Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday signed H.B. 3400, an omnibus bill to implement Measure 91, the marijuana legalization initiative adopted by voters last November. The bill was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.
Measure 91 legalized possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulated commercial production, manufacturing, and retail sales of marijuana. Legalization for personal use took effect July 1, 2015.
As of that date adults 21 and older can legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside the home. They may also grow up to four plants at home, as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure for commercial retail sales will not be up and running until next year.
In addition to addressing the implementation of Measure 91, H.B. 3400 contains broad sentencing reform provisions that extend well beyond the elimination of criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and cultivation of up to four plants. The new law reduces most marijuana felonies to misdemeanors or lesser felonies with significantly reduced sentences.
Hemp Public Relations on Tuesday announced that they are refusing all multi-million dollar offers to provide their expertise to Governor Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. For good measure, Hemp Public Relations has issued a lifetime ban on Christie for all company events.
“Governor Christie has publicly said as president, he would "crack down" on states that have ended prohibitions on marijuana," said Ryan McCormick, cofounder of Hemp Public Relations. "We feel that anyone who would threaten to subvert the will of the people and claim that their own personal ideology trumps that of the people is an affront to the very foundation of America.
"For this reason, Hemp Public Relations will refuse to work or assist the Christie campaign in any capacity for any amount of money,” McCormick said.
Hemp Public Relations helps individuals and businesses in the marijuana industry to achieve greater visibility in the public eye through the media. The company is founded by Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick, public relations professionals who are the creators of New York based Goldman McCormick PR (www.goldmanmccormick.com) and Legal PR Team (www.legalprteam.com).
Oct. 1 early start bill passes in Oregon Senate; Oregon police to stop arresting people for some marijuana crimes
By Steve Elliott
The day before adult use of marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, leaders of the state’s drug reform movement said they plan to expand their work to change how Oregon approaches drug policy.
“Thanks to Oregon voters, we have made history and become national leaders in drug reform,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of the Yes on 91 campaign to legalize marijuana. “But there’s still a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”
Johnson has been advocating for an earlier start to regulated sales for marijuana, and the Oregon Senate today passed a bill, 23-6, that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling marijuana to adults 21 and older on Oct. 1. Another bill that reduces marijuana-related criminal penalties is making its way to the governor’s desk.
Johnson said marijuana should no longer be classified as a drug as dangerous as heroin, that more money should be devoted to marijuana-related research, and that “we should focus more on helping people and less on incarcerating them.”
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a strong advocate for changes to federal drug laws and a leader of the Oregon campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, discussed his efforts to reform outdated marijuana policy at the federal level.
The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016 (CCHI 2016) and ALOTOFFUN Productions invites everyone to a free concert and political rally at MLK Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, on Saturday, July 11 from 11:30 AM to 7 PM.
This event will be the official kick-off of the CCHI 2016 campaign to thoroughly end Cannabis Hemp prohibition in California. The organization is seeking backing and volunteers to help with this effort.
This special event continues the effort to mobilize and inform the public about qualifying the CCHI 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 California ballot.
This special informational event is being held on Saturday, July 11, from 11:30 AM to 7PM. For more info: www.rallyforcchi2016.com
The CCHI 2016 signature drive will begin begin in late Fall 2015 in which the CCHI 2016 will have 180 days to gather 600,000 signatures from registered Californian voters to qualify for the Nov 8, 2016 ballot.
Full text of the CCHI can be found at:
This event is free and donations are kindly accepted.
Musical acts Include: psychedelic rock, reggae, Grateful Dead, soul and funk.
Legendary SF 60's band, Sopworth Camel will headline with Gigantis, Island of Black and White, Clear Conscience and many other musical guests participating. For a complete list: www.rallyforcchi2016.com.
Speakers in support of qualifying the CCHI for the 2016 ballot include:
Ross Mirkarimi: Sheriff of San Francisco
Longtime proponent of Cannabis legalization, is scheduled to speak between 3-4 p.m (schedule permitting).
Ganjapreneur, an online cannabis business resource, interviews Dr. Dominic Corva in the latest episode of its series of podcast interviews featuring successful cannabis entrepreneurs and industry experts.
Dr. Corva is a political geographer and public policy scholar who has written extensively on both international drug policy in the Western Hemisphere as well as the political economy of cannabis agriculture in southern Humboldt County. In the past he has worked as a professor at Sarah Lawrence College and Humboldt State University, though these days he is executive director at the Cannabis and Social Policy Center (CASP).
The interview is hosted by Shango Los of the Vashon Island Marijuana Entrepreneurs Alliance. Over the course of the interview, the two discuss the past and future of international drug policy, the flawed implementation of Washington's I-502 market, the impact of data-tracking on legal marijuana, and the future of Humboldt County cannabis growers.
“The biggest misconception is that legalization means that everyone is more free to engage in cannabis commerce, when in fact, legalization clearly means that new lines are being drawn,” Dr. Corva explained.
Though his work has been dedicated to aiding and understanding business interests in the cannabis industry, Dr. Corva is openly thankful for the activism efforts that brought us here: "As long as we’re not moving backwards on the criminal justice side of it, then we’re still, I think, moving a little bit in the right direction."
By Steve Elliott
Uruguay has stood up to the United Nations on the issue of marijuana legalization, refusing to back down after several meetings with officials from the international body.
Juan Andrés Roballo, the president of Uruguay's National Drug Board (JND), announced on Thursday that he will present a report before the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights defending the country's legalization and regulation of the cannabis market, reports PanAm Post.
Roballo said he will urge the U.N. to discuss legalization "without taboos," reports El Pais.
"Uruguay has embarked on a different path," Roballo said. "Not only have we made proposals; we have also taken effective, concrete measures in a different sense."
Roballo added that the whole world is watching Uruguay, and emphasized the "special commitment" the country has to run a successful legalization process.
The U.N., meanwhile, claims the legalization law approved by Uruguay "is incompatible with what is stipulated in the 1961 Convention," referencing the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty restricting the production, manufacture, export, import, and distribution of various drugs.
Uruguay's decision to legalize cannabis has "kicked the hornet's nest," according to JND Secretary Milton Romani.
Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately
Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016
By Steve Elliott
Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon passed with 56 percent approval, takes effect July 1 and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants (as long as they are out of public view) and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will remain illegal.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.
Oregon to End Wasteful and Racially Disproportionate Marijuana Possession Arrests; State Expects Significant Fiscal Benefits
Beginning July 1, adults 21 and older in Oregon will be able to legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside their home. Adults may also grow up to four plants as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure allowing for commercial retail sales is still in the works and will not be implemented until next year.
Oregon voters passed Measure 91 last November with 56 percent support. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C. passed a more limited measure that legalized possession and home cultivation of marijuana but did not address its taxation and sale due to D.C. law.
Alaska’s law started to take effect earlier than Oregon’s, with Alaska officially ending the criminalization of marijuana possession and cultivation in February. Thus Oregon is now the 4th U.S. state to begin implementing its marijuana legalization law.
The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act had bipartisan backing in both chambers, and an April poll found 57 percent of Rhode Island voters in favor of such a measure
Rhode Island state lawmakers late Thursday recessed the legislative session leaving hundreds of bills, including a widely supported proposal to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol, pending action. Legislative leaders have indicated they may call a special session in the fall to finish their agenda.
“Lawmakers’ decision to recess without voting on this widely supported legislation is disappointing, to say the least,” said Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “We believe we have the votes needed to pass the measure this session, and we’re optimistic that we’ll still have the votes if and when they come back for a special session.
"We hope to work with leaders in both chambers over the summer to ensure lawmakers are given a chance to cast them,” Moffat said.
Top Experts in Policy, Science and Regulation Discuss the Public Health, Social Justice and Environmental Issues Related to Marijuana Legalization
In an effort to educate the public and discuss pressing issues related to the legalization of marijuana in California in 2016, the Drug Policy Alliance held three symposia, each focusing on a different aspect of marijuana regulation. Videos from those symposia are now available online to view for free.
The first symposia, held in Los Angeles, addressed issues related to marijuana use and public health. Speakers included Alison Holcomb from the ACLU, Tista Ghosh from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the environment, and Rep. Jonathan Singer from Colorado. The goal of this symposium was to address concerns related to how marijuana legalization might impact road safety, teen drug use and criminal activity. This symposium can be viewed in its entirety or by individual speaker here.
Guide Compares An Ounce Of Weed To A Voodoo Doughnut
By Steve Elliott
With Oregon set to legalize marijuana on July 1, the Portland Police Bureau has released a guide for cannabis consumers which explains just how much weed is legal under the new law.
The guide explains how much weed you can carry "in the most Portland was possible," reports KATU, by comparing an ounce to the size of a Voodoo doughnut. (Voodoo Doughnuts, recently experienced for the first time by this reporter, is a Portland institution, popular among both cannabis users and the public at large for its large, tasty creations.)
While Oregon's law allows just an ounce to possess while you're out and about, you can have up to 8 ounces at home. Anything more is still illegal.
Driving under the influence of marijuana can get you a ticket, as can using it in a public place. But if you see someone smoking pot in public, police urge you NOT to call 911, unless there is an immediate public safety risk; they truly don't want to be bothered. Even the COPS know that it's a dumb waste of their time and your money to arrest folks for smoking weed.
The same goes for any scenario where you smell marijuana from your neighbor's home or yard; if it's bothering you, Portland police said you should discuss it directly with your neighbor and not call 911.
Transporting marijuana from Oregon to Washington -- as tempting as that might be, sine it's going to be a lot cheaper in Oregon -- would be a violation of federal drug laws.
By Steve Elliott
Oregon House lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill 52-4 setting up the state's legal marijuana market after voters approved legalization under Measure 91 last November. The bill, HB 3400, now heads to the Oregon Senate.
The bill creates regulations for both medical and recreational cannabis, including a compromise allowing local jurisdictions to "opt out" of legalization, reports Sheila Kumar at the Associated Press. Members of a House joint committee charged with implementing Measure 91 had previously been unable to agree on the issue of local control, stalling the measure for weeks.
Counties or cities that voted against Measure 91 can choose to ban cannabis sales if at least 55 percent of their residents opposed the ballot measure in last November's election. Other counties would have to put banning pot sales to a vote.
"I did not support Measure 91," said clueless Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer). "I am voting for this bill because it allows local jurisdictions to prohibit the sale of this drug."
The bill also creates a marijuana tracking system, so bureaucrats can trace weed from seed to sale in order to keep it out of the black market. The Oregon Health Authority would be in charge of creating and maintaining a database tracking the path of marijuana to market.
The bill requires grow sites to register and submit information on how much cannabis is processed and transferred every month.