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Minutes from November 2 Portland NORML Legislative Committee

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Did you miss our first Portland NORML Legislative Committee?  Here are the minutes of that meeting to keep you posted and up-to-date on what Portland NORML is doing.  We will hold our next meeting on the first Monday in December – location to be determined and announced soon.

First, we brainstormed about some priorities regarding Consumer Rights, in no particular order:

  • Income inequality for cannabis consumers, especially patients
    • 1 in 3 patients is on a reduced OMMP and with the shift to retail sales may find themselves forced to shop for their medicine instead of having a grower
    • Cost of OMMP registration should be reduced
  • Expanding social consumption opportunities
    • Bars
    • Push for a waiver of enforcement for the no-smoking rule at Hempstalk in 2016
  • Discrimination in housing and employment
  • Prohibition of cannabis use on college campuses
  • Reciprocity
    • Washington patients would be limited to purchasing “limited marijuana” and should be able to exercise their patient limits when shopping at Oregon stores
  • Immature plant definition
    • Adopting the same “limitless” definition of immature plants that applies to medical marijuana for adults; immature plants shouldn’t count towards 4 household plants
  • Opposing local bans
    • Connecting with various efforts throughout the state to oppose bans through lobbying, initiatives, etc
  • Lower Taxes (Currently 17% + 3%)
  • Free marijuana prisoners
  • Allow use of marijuana while participating in the criminal justice system (ie probation, pre-trial supervision, etc)

We went around the room and asked people what their personal top priority was from the list and we had four votes for housing and employment discrimination, two votes for income inequality for patients, one vote for the bans, one vote for the plant definition and one vote for criminal justice issues (freeing prisoners/allowing use of marijuana in criminal justice system).

Lee spoke about wanting to create a Portland NORML Consumer Bill of Rights, and suggested a few possible models – Mikki Norris or Ed Rosenthal.  A possible timeline of framing up such a Consumer Bill of Rights by February to push at the Legislature in 2017 or 2019.

He also spoke about different understandings of what a “public place” means.  He suggested that a public place can become a private place by charging an admission fee.  He explained that there is a lot of controversy over what is a public place.

He suggested that we should frame some long-term and short-term goals in our next meeting, and that we should consider a funding committee to help support the efforts of the Legislative Committee apart from general revenue that is earned through memberships.  He said he had some ideas, but didn’t offer them at this meeting.

For our next Legislative Committee, we will still meet on the 1st Monday, but the venue wasn’t very good for what we were trying to do and we won’t be holding future Portland NORML Legislative Committee meetings at the Analog.   The free use of the location is awesome and works well for the Portland NORML Social on the 3rd Mondays and for our membership meetings, but there is a tap dancing class upstairs every Monday during that time slot and a lot of other activity that made it hard to participate in the committee.  We are looking at options for where to most effectively host the Legislative Committee meetings.

For the next meeting, the agenda will include coming up with ideas for a Consumer Bill of Rights (and Lee will bring some examples of existing ones) as well as Sam Chapman’s suggestion to push the City of Portland to allow for social consumption venues which he suggested is going to be on the agenda before long – that for the City of Portland, it is a “when” not an “if” for social consumption venues.

Sam asked for pros and cons for social consumption to help us frame our efforts with the City of Portland, and this is the list that was created:

Pros:

  • Reduction in public use on sidewalks, in cars, etc – public safety element
  • Right to gather/Equality/Community
  • Tourism
  • Those that can’t consume at home (ie live with parents or landlord doesn’t allow use) will have a place to consume
  • Normalization/Ending stigmas surrounding use
  • Increased business/economic gains

Cons:

  • Some feel that users shouldn’t be allowed to smoke at all
  • Social use may lead to increased use (intoxication) and then driving home
  • Perceived increase in crime associated with marijuana/marijuana commerce

If you would like to help us frame the consumer voice in the conversations surrounding marijuana, please help support the efforts as an Active Member of Portland NORML and join us on the First Monday of each month for our Portland NORML Legislative Committee.  As you can see, we are just getting started and there is still a lot of work to be done!

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