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Local Roundup for Oregon Cannabis August 3, 2015

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Over the last week, I’ve received a few emails from various areas around the state with updates on what is happening surrounding cannabis reform. Please keep the information coming – it is a tremendous help for all of our Members and Associates!

Rick McDonough, medical patient, grower and processor from Grant County reported that Grant County and John Day were both considering bans according to the Blue Mt. Eagle.  He says he is working to be vocal and write letters to the editor, but doesn’t feel like he is having much success in changing minds.  If you are in John Day or Grant County, please help with the effort to change minds and block any proposed bans.

Andrew Buck, founder of Oregon Coast Cannabis, is opening a dispensary in Manzanita.  He reports that the Manzanita City Council has been blocking him out of meetings since March.  He was finally able to get on their agenda in July and obtained a business license, but are considering a referendum that would prohibit any new businesses from being established.  He says that Tillamook County voted 55% in favor of M91 and their local precinct voted nearly 66% in favor.  There was an article in the Tillamook Headlight Herald (although it requires a subscription to read it in full) and he hopes to drum up more local support.  He says that the next meeting is August 5th for the second reading of the ordinance and will be held at 7 pm at Manzanita City Hall. He shared the following documents from the City Council and encourages anyone local to attend on August 5th:

Manzanita City Council 07062015 Re medical marijuana dispensaries

Manzanita City Council 07062015 RE marijuana uses prohibition and referral

Charles W. reported that the city of Scappoose and Columbia County are fairly hostile towards the legalization of marijuana and have refused permits to local businesses and used zoning ordinances to slow down or prevent growers from legally growing.  Scappoose also previously set a local sales tax for medical marijuana.  The Scappoose City Council narrowly approved allowing cannabis dispensaries in a 4/3 vote, but may be stalling in implementing them.  It sounds like Scappoose still needs a lot of support, so please attend any City Council meetings as well as the Columbia County Commissioner meetings.

William Nance, from Nyssa in Malheur County, wrote to request help in Eastern Oregon.  He has worked as a local organizer for the last few years and says that the sparse population creates a lot of difficulty in organizing in the region.  As a result, they are facing a situation where cannabis is still viewed though a “drug warrior” lens and cannabis consumers face continual harassment.  He says he has attended every City Council meeting in Nyssa since October of 2014 and was not allowed to speak for seven months because public comments were not on the agenda. However, when he was allowed to speak, he expressed concerns with local moratoriums and bans of medical cannabis.  Nyssa banned all six categories of marijuana licenses (medical and recreational), and he says that during the hearing, local law enforcement testified that, because of the new possession and home grow laws for adults, they were going to be on alert for black market cannabis – which he says includes “all cannabis as it is still federally prohibited”.  He says that the sheriff doesn’t accept cannabis as medicine and that the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Unit would be seeking out cannabis wherever it was found and would be alerting Idaho law enforcement of anyone they suspected of having cannabis who might be headed to Idaho.  He shared two articles that help illustrate the current state of affairs in the region:

Idaho Statesman: Will pot from Oregon flood Idaho?  Don’t count on it

Idaho Statesman: Some Oregon communities are already saying ‘no’ to pot

Jack Howard, Union County Commissioner, also contacted me after speaking with Russ Belville.  He was seeking information about the status of OLCC Rule-making to assist with what he called a “major review of opt out” that will be taking place in the City of La Grande on Wednesday, August 5.  I plan to try to gather that information for him later this evening, but I also wanted to be sure to inform Portland NORML Members and Associates about this upcoming meeting that will take place at 6pm at La Grande City Hall located at 1000 Adams Avenue.  He says that while he voted against M91, he would like to see an informed process of dealing with decriminalization and he feels that opponents are attacking OLCC rulemaking, dismissing it as “incomplete”, in order to justify a pre-decided response to simply opt out.  If you are in La Grande, you need to be there Wednesday to help provide information and insight on this controversial topic.

For all who gave updates this week – thank you!  We need to help keep each other informed and show up to be the voice of cannabis consumers state-wide.  Please attend your local meetings and continue to report back to us on what is happening in your locality.  You can email me updates directly at jennifer@portlandnorml.org

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