As you all know, we typically hold our Portland NORML Membership meetings on the 4th Saturday of each month at noon. However, our Executive Director, Russ Belville, is booked every weekend this month with various cannabis events. We polled our membership and looked at our options as the clock ticked down on our ability to adequately notify our Membership and Associates of the change.
The Analog Theater at 720 SE Hawthorne St. is willing to host this month’s meeting at no charge to our organization on Wednesday September 23rd, at 7:30pm so that we don’t miss this opportunity to educate our Membership, Associates and members of the public about what will be allowed just one week later on October 1st when licensed medical marijuana dispensaries will be legally allowed to sell limited marijuana to adults 21+. (The doors will be open sooner than 7:30pm, if you want to come early and grab a bite to eat or share a drink with friends and enjoy the venue while you wait for the meeting to start).
This location has the added possibility of becoming a permanent location for our membership at no cost. Previously, we have had to pay per meeting to rent the Tony Starlight Showroom to host our meetings. We definitely have made good use of that location and we are very appreciative of the staff there who have done a lot to make sure that the venue was perfect for our needs each time we were there; their efforts combined with the dedication and hard work of both our Executive Director, Russ Belville, and our Deputy Director, Scott Gordon, have ensured that all our previous Portland NORML meetings were organized, informative and enjoyable. We are also tremendously appreciative of our Board Member and Treasurer, Randy Quast, who has assisted tremendously in enabling our organization to meet our financial needs. However, as a new and growing organization, we do not have sufficient revenue to sustain the expense associated with continuing at that location.
We are exploring our possibilities for a location that will enable Portland NORML to focus on activism and education - there is a lot of work to be done, and we need to be well-situated in the public eye with opportunities to reach those outside of our membership on a regular basis. The ideal venue would be a free venue that is supportive of our efforts and that provides a mutually beneficial relationship for both Portland NORML and the venue. The most likely mutually beneficial location is one where our membership’s needs are ideally met and in exchange, our membership supports the venue by purchasing food and/or drinks. The Analog could prove to be that perfect location.
As I currently understand it, The Analog hosts a weekly marijuana giveaway in conjunction with Fight Church Television hosted by Jessie Sponberg each Monday evening. Marijuana is freely distributed to a hundred or more people every week donated by various growers or dispensaries during his show. Despite OLCC licensing for alcoholic beverages that prohibits marijuana consumption at OLCC-licensed facilities, The Analog has stood firm in their perspective that the free distribution of marijuana by adults there does not violate OLCC rules since there is no consumption taking place on the property.
On that note, since it is fundamental to their position, it is VERY IMPORTANT that there be absolutely NO CONSUMPTION of marijuana on the property. If our membership is comfortable with that requirement, we could explore the real possibility of future clone and/or seed (or even possibly flower) exchanges where attendees could act on the free sharing of marijuana by adults provided for under Measure 91. It is too short of notice to coordinate such an exchange at the September meeting, but we can definitely explore the possibility for future meetings with our Legal Counsel to ensure we remain in compliance with the laws. I will be touching base with The Analog in the coming days to find out the details for potentially holding future meetings at this location, and should have that information at the Wednesday September 23rd meeting at 7:30pm.
We recognize that this meeting schedule change is on short notice, and would like your assistance in making sure that everyone is aware of the change. Please be sure to share this post as well as the Facebook event with the information that this meeting is on a different schedule at a different location than many members are used to. Encourage non-members to attend as well - there will be a lot of terrific information for attendees in addition to raffle prizes. We are also working on short notice to prepare for this meeting, but we have some terrific concepts in the works, including an effort to document which dispensaries will be selling to adults as of October 1, along with those willing to provide a discount to Portland NORML Members redeemed by showing your membership card, with the hopes that we can have this completed in time to distribute to attendees at this upcoming meeting.
Come on out and support Portland NORML on Wednesday September 23rd, at 7:30pm at The Analog at 720 SE Hawthorne and learn about what laws impact consumers in addition to having the opportunity to win some cool raffle prizes. After the meeting, share your thoughts on what you think of this venue - is it what Portland NORML needs? Do you know of other opportunities similar to this where Portland NORML Membership can thrive? Let’s find that perfect Portland NORML homebase for our meetings, so we can focus on the equality issues that bring us together!