Pubdate: Thu, 04 Feb 2016
Source: Portland Mercury (OR)
Column: Cannabuzz: The Week in Cannabis
Copyright: 2016 The Portland Mercury
Author: Josh Jardine


I HAVE GOOD NEWS! Today we're going to explore how you can shatter 
the myth of the lazy, unmotivated, forgetful stoner and defend 
cannabis consumers everywhere. And you can do it while stoned!

I also have not-so-good news! It's going to involve taking time out 
of your day. Not much, but you are going to have to click on some 
links, maybe type a little, and make a phone call. So it's about on 
par with the effort you exert using Tinder-without all that lingering regret.

Right now many things are at stake in our state's capital, within 
both the medical marijuana (OMMP) and recreational pot programs. So I 
spoke with Maura C. Roche, strategic consultant to the Oregon 
Cannabis Association, and she suggested cannabis users and advocates 
familiarize themselves with the three bills in the 2016 legislative 
session that pertain to our favorite little green plant. Buckle up, 
because things are about to get wonky.

First, there's House Bill 4014. This one deals with a wide range of 
issues, including lifting state residency requirements and criminal 
sentencing adjustments. It also deals with how cannabis growers, 
processors, and others are licensed, and allows the governor to enter 
into compacts with the state's tribal governments related to 
marijuana growing, processing, and manufacturing.

Next, there's House Bill 4132, which is a little more 
straightforward. This one keeps OMMP patients and caregivers from 
having to pay tax on their purchases.

Lastly, there's Senate Bill 1511. This one would allow existing 
dispensaries to sell edibles, concentrates, and topicals to non-OMMP 

"HB 4014 and SB 1511 are the primary vehicles for cannabis-related 
policy in the 2016 legislative session," Roche says. "They are 
similar in their structure, and there is probably still some work 
being done to determine the ultimate content of the legislation. And 
there will also be a bill on access to financial services for 
cannabis business owners, as well as some industrial hemp 
legislation. It's unclear how much of this legislation will move in 
short session, but safe to say that one of these production, 
processing, sale, and use bills will move at a minimum."

It's wise to keep on top of which bills are open for debate and 
modification. The best way to do that is to keep track of what the 
2016 legislative session-which began on February 1-is discussing by 
going to From there, you can track when 
committees are meeting and testimonies are being heard (under the 
"Committees" tab, click "Agendas Online"). And perhaps most 
importantly, you can find out the name of your elected official and 
how to reach them.

When you do contact an elected official, keep your passions in check. 
It's tempting to unload in spectacular fashion, but while insults and 
rants might make you feel better for a hot sec, ask yourself: If you 
were the recipient of such a communique, would you think, "This 
not-at-all-crazy-sounding hothead makes some reasonable points. 
Perhaps I should reconsider my position on newly legal cannabis!"

So save your bon mots, Gore Vidal, and focus on making a concise, 
polite argument for your position. Address how legislation could 
affect your life, mention if a provision or decision will be good or 
bad for the local economy, write about your experiences as a 
responsible cannabis user, and always emphasize your support for 
"regulated, adult-use cannabis" and "the reduction of black-market 
sales." The elected official you're working to persuade is probably 
not a huge pothead-and might still hold on to old stigmas about 
cannabis-but he or she does share values with you: a desire for safe 
streets, an interest in reducing suffering, and so on.

Consider placing your arguments in the context of Oregon's economic 
interests. We are renowned for our wine, coffee roasters, and 
artisanal small-batch distilleries-it's in Oregon's interest to 
produce high-quality cannabis to add to the list of what makes Oregon 
special. How would Oregon's world-renowned craft brewing industry 
have developed if beer lovers had no legal place to drink, and faced 
fines and potential jail time for drinking in their hotel room? This 
is one of the major issues the canna industry faces right now. 
Remember, cannabis is potentially the most powerful economic engine 
in Oregon since timber, and our ability to offer tourists and 
residents the opportunity to enjoy it without undue persecution is 
key to developing our state and local economies.

But you MUST SPEAK UP. If you enjoy cannabis, you have an obligation 
to exercise your democratic rights. In the time it takes you to roll 
a joint, load a bong, or prep a dab, you can do your part. It's free 
and easy, and you can get stoned when you are done as a reward. Is it 
thrilling? No. Is it necessary? Hells to the yes. So start clicking, 
emailing, and phoning.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom