By Steve Elliott
With less than three months until Election Day in Oregon, and as many as three separate marijuana legalization initiatives vying to appear on the ballot, a new poll shows 51 percent of voters support allowing adults to use, possess and grow cannabis.
The SurveyUSA poll released on Tuesday didn't ask voters which of the three measures they would prefer; instead it simply asked them whether they would support or pose allowing adults in Oregon to use, possess and grow marijuana for their personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax it, reports Thomas H. Clarke at The Daily Chronic.
Just more than half, 51 percent of those polled support marijuana legalization, while just 41 percent oppose it. There are no regional differences within the state on this question, according to the poll, but there are enormous age differences: younger voters support legalization by 48 points, while senior citizens oppose it by 24 points.
Democrats were more likely to support cannabis legalization, and Republicans were more likely to oppose it, according to the poll.
None of the three initiatives has yet qualified for November's ballot, but supporters of all three said they are optimistic that they will turn in more than enough signatures to qualify before the deadline on July 3.
By Steve Elliott
Activists in Oregon have rented 20 billboards in prominent positions across the state in support of their campaign to end criminal penalties for cannabis.
The billboards, found in Portland, Eugene, Beaverton, Roseburg, and Salem, carry the messages "Help End Marijuana Prohibition," or "Prohibition is the Problem, Hemp is the Answer!"
"Of course, ending prohibition is the goal, but energizing Oregon and showing a solid outreach and grassroots effort is key," said activist Michael Bachara of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), which is behind Initiatives 21 and 22.
Oregon's 2014 Initiative 21 is a constitutional amendment to end prohibition and stop imposing criminal penalties for marijuana. It needs 116,284 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures by July 3rd to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.
Initiative 22 is a proposed statute to regulate and tax marijuana, and allow farmers to grow hemp for fuel, fiber and food. It needs 87,213 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
"These measures are going to be on the ballot," said chief petitioner Paul Stanford. "Prohibition doesn't work. Filling our jails with nonviolent marijuana prisoners is a waste of public resources and people's future."
"We will end prohibition and criminal penalties for marijuana," Stanford said. "Our initiatives are designed to move Oregon ahead of both Washington and Colorado, so Oregon's economy can reap the benefits of these rapidly growing industries, sooner rather than later."
On Saturday, May 3, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the 15th annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort.
Oregon NORML, KBOO Community Radio and the publishers of Hemp News, Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) are sponsors of this event.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, (District 3). He will be speaking immediately following the march.
Musicians Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, The Sindicate, Disenchanter and Justin James Bridges have joined the lineup for the rally, which runs from 11 am to 4 pm in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Speakers for the rally include CRRH Director Paul Stanford; Paul Loney, Oregon NORML Legal Counsel; Leland Berger, a Portland Attorney; Rowshan Reordan, Oregon NORML; Anna Diaz of the NORML Women's Alliance; Madeline Martinez of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP); and Oregon Attorney John Lucy IV.
"I think it’s game over in less than five years," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, according to an article in The Huffington Post. "There's no question that we're likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [social] use. We're going to see more medical marijuana progress. The crazy prohibitions on bank services and probably the tax disparities -- these are all eroding," Rep. Blumenauer predicted.
Initiative 22, also known as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, would legalize marijuana and set the limits of personal possession and cultivation at 24 ounces or 24 plants. The Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, sponsor of Initiatives 21 and 22, this week addressed the reason for setting these limits.
"Twenty-four ounces is not an arbitrary number," said Jersey Deutsch, campaign director for CRRH. "If anything, the limits in place under Colorado and Washington law are unnecessarily low, and possibly detrimental for medical users who make their own medicine at home."
Michael Steinlage, development director for the campaign, added: "It is true that under OCTA the allowable limits of both possession and cultivation would be 24 ounces, but this amount is already the legal limit for OMMP cardholders. For many patients on limited budgets whose preferred method of ingestion isn't smoking, the creation of homemade extracts and edibles would greatly ease the cost of self-medication.
"It takes large amounts of the flowering plant to make relatively small supplies of edible goods or oils, and these items can be very expensive when purchased from dispensaries," Steinlage said.
For those who choose to grow their own at home, a yearly harvest of 24 ounces would provide 2 ounces per month of the cured flowering plant.
Activists Promise 'Big Announcement' Next Week
Paul Stanford: "These measures are going to be on the ballot"
In light of recent news that the Oregon Legislature has abandoned meaningful reforms, initiative activists are moving forward with a new phase in their campaign to end criminal penalties for marijuana.
"We salute the efforts of Representative Peter Buckley and other progressive-minded legislators," said chief petitioner Paul Stanford, "and we are ready to pick up where they fell and bring a pair of ballot initiatives restoring the progressive pioneer spirit that Oregon is well known for."
Oregon has lagged behind other Western states in bringing reform to marijuana law. Two initiative petitions, IP 21 and IP 22, would change that. "Prohibition doesn't work," Stanford said. "Filling our jails with nonviolent marijuana prisoners is a waste of public resources and people's future. We will end prohibition and end criminal penalties for marijuana."
Oregon's 2014 Initiative 21, a constitutional amendment to end prohibition and stop imposing criminal penalties for marijuana, has 38,000 signatures collected to date. It needs 116,284 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures by July 3rd to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.
Initiative 22, a proposed statute to regulate and tax marijuana, and allow farmers to grow hemp for fuel, fiber and food, has gathered 25,000 signatures. It needs 87,213 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
A bill that would ask Oregon voters if they want to legalize marijuana while leaving the regulations up to the Legislature passed its first committee last Thursday.
Senate Bill 1556 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-2 vote, with all Democrats supporting it and all Republicans opposing, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian. The bill now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.
The measure was amended before passing to lower the amount of cannabis that adults 21 and older would be allowed to possess in private. The amount was lowered from eight ounces and four plants in the original bill to six ounces and three plants in the amended version.
Cannabis activists are already gathering signatures for two legalization initiatives.
Initiative 21 would amend the Oregon Constitution, ending criminal penalties for cannabis and permitting adult recreational marijuana use, possession and cultivation.
Initiative 22, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2014, creates a commission to regulate the cultivation, processing, and sale of marijuana, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the Oregon General Fund, helping to pay for schools, roads, and social services.
The groups HEMP in Oregon (Help End Marijuana Prohibition in Oregon) and CRRH (Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp) have kicked off a vigorous volunteer and paid petition drive to get both initiatives on the ballot for November 2014, according to director Paul Stanford.
By Steve Elliott
An Oregon Congressman on Tuesday blasted the deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy after failing to get a straight answer to his question about the supposed dangers of marijuana.
When Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), a friend to the cannabis community for more than 40 years, asked chief deputy drug czar Michael Botticelli for the number of fatal cannabis overdoses for the past five years, Botticelli replied, "To my knowledge, I don't know if there have been instances of specific overdose-related deaths."
Rep. Blumenauer continued pressing Botticelli in the House Oversight Committee hearing, asking him whether marijuana is more dangerous and addictive than cocaine or methamphetamine, reports Travis Gettys at The Raw Story.
"I don't think that anyone would dispute the fact that there's relative toxicity related to those drugs," Botticelli said in a classical political non-answer. Understandably, Rep. Blumenauer -- who voted to make Oregon the first state to decriminalize marijuana, back in 1973, when he was a state representative in Salem -- wasn't satisfied.
Cannabis advocates on Friday morning turned in tens of thousands signatures for two marijuana initiatives in the state capitol of Salem. The initiatives are aiming for the November 2014 ballot in Oregon.
Oregon's 2014 Initiative 21 is a constitutional amendment to end marijuana prohibition, and Initiative 22 is a statute to regulate and tax marijuana, allowing farmers to grow hemp for fuel, fiber and food. Organizers behind I-21 and I-22 turned in the signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's Elections Division offices on the 5th floor in the Public Service Building.
“Prohibition doesn't work," said chief petitioner Paul Stanford of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH). "Filling our jails with nonviolent marijuana prisoners is a waste. It is time to end marijuana prohibition.”
Recent polls show that more than 60 percent of likely Oregon voters support ending marijuana prohibition now. "Our initiatives, one constitutional, the other statutory, will poise Oregon to lead this new industry, which some say is the fastest growth industry in America today," Stanford said.
Who: Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, an Oregon nonprofit PAC
What: Press Conference and Signature Turn-In for Two Marijuana Initiatives
When: 10 a.m. on Friday, December 6
Where: Lobby of the Public Service Building at 255 Capitol St. NE; Salem, Oregon
By Steve Elliott
The Oregon House on Monday passed a bill to license and regulate the nearly 200 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state.
House Bill 3460 requires the Oregon Health Authority to set up a licensing system under the state's Medical Marijuana Act.
"I urge the Oregon Senate to pass HB 3460 so patients can have safe, over-the-counter, regulated access to medical marijuana in a open, legal retail environment, said Paul Stanford, president of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) and director of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), which owns Hemp News.
"We shouldn't be pushing people with serious illnesses into the black market for relief," Stanford said. "HB 3460, when implemented, will protect patients, growers and retail establishments from wrongful arrest and potential incarceration."
“HB 3460 is a moderate bill that recognizes that some 200 dispensaries are operating all over Oregon today, patients are visiting them regularly and it is time to bring these facilities under the medical marijuana program,” said Geoff Sugerman, director of Oregonians for Medical Rights, the group sponsoring the legislation. "The regulations will provide a new level of safety and access to patients while giving dispensaries and local communities clear direction on how these should be operated."
By Steve Elliott
Hemp News and The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) owner Paul Stanford has filed two new initiatives to legalize marijuana in Oregon.
One of the measures is similar to an 2012 initiative that fell short by just six points at the polls, but with a couple of major changes, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian. The commission would no longer be chosen by cannabis growers, retailers and others in the marijuana community, but instead would be appointed by the governor, according to Stanford.
"In retrospect, [the commission proposal] was probably the most damaging thing in the campaign," Stanford said of Measure 80. The Portland-based president of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) said that a governor-appointed commission, in the new proposal, would poll better with voters.
The other major change from Measure 80, which would have allowed adults to possess unlimited quantities of marijuana, is that the new proposal would impose limits of 24 plants and 24 ounces of dried marijuana.
Stanford's second proposed initiative would constitutionally allow those 21 and older to possess and grow cannabis. It would allow the state to "reasonably define, limit and regulate" marijuana.
Stanford said he is working with a broad coalition of cannabis activists and will go ahead with whichever of the two legalization measures they decide has the best chance of passage.
This publication, Hemp News, is the oldest online news service. In 1991, Paul Stanford began posting Hemp News on the Internet, back prior to the creation of the web. The worldwide web wasn't created until 1994. Stanford began posting news stories about marijuana on Usenet newsgroups, or bulletin boards that are text only computer sites with names like alt.hemp, misc.activism.cannabis, alt.politics.marijuana, alt.drugs.pot. Usenet newsgroups still exist and are archived in perpetuity.
Starting in 1988, Stanford subscribed his Commodore 64 computer to Compuserve, the first national Internet Service Provider, at speeds of 1200 baud over the telephone landline, or about 50 alphabet/numeric characters per second. Stanford first subscribed to Compuserve's Executive News Service, which searched the printed news media's information, like the Associated Press and New York Times, and dropped news stories that matched selected keywords into an online folder, which cost $16 an hour to access. After reading the latest international news stories about marijuana, Stanford realized that most people, even those who were interested in marijuana and ending its prohibition, didn't have access to this news. When Stanford began posting these stories to Usenet newsgroups, no other online compilation of news had been posted about anything to the Internet.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana policy reform is advancing on multiple fronts in Oregon, with both medicinal cannabis and general legalization measures gaining traction in an increasingly friendly Legislature.
"We are seeing the best legislative session for drug policy reform -- certainly since the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act passed in 1998, and perhaps ever -- this go-round," Paul Stanford, president of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) and the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), which owns Hemp News.
In the last week, the Oregon Senate:
• Passed SB 281 on a 19-11 vote. This bill adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of debilitating medical conditions which qualify patients for the protections of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA).
• Passed SB 40, 24-6. This bill realigns the felony level designations of Manufacturing and Possession to be consistent with the rescheduling in Oregon of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II; and creates misdemeanor marijuana possession (more than one ounce, less than four ounces) and misdemeanor hashish possession (less than 1/4 ounce).
By Paul Stanford, CRRH
Campaign for the Restoration & Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) is a federal 501(C)4 political committee working to end hemp & cannabis prohibition. CRRH put Measure 80 on Oregon's 2012 ballot, and, last November, Measure 80 garnered 47 percent of the vote in Oregon to regulate marijuana and legalize hemp. CRRH is proud to be working with the ACLU of Oregon now to change our punitive marijuana laws.
CRRH believes that marijuana is a bellwether issue for the future of freedom. Cannabis has been purposely cultivated for over 10,000 years and produces more fiber, food, fuel and medicine than any other plant. Cannabis is the oldest and most productive crop sown. Please support CRRH and our vital work to restore hemp.
CRRH is proud to congratulate Mr. David Findaque for his much deserved 'E.B. MacNaughton Civil Liberties Award’.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Every once in a while an activist comes along that changes the way a political issue is perceived. Last month, Paul Stanford of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) had the opportunity to interview such a man, John Sinclair. In Stanford’s interview (above), Sinclair discusses the current medical cannabis community and gives his views on where he hopes the cannabis legalization movement will evolve.
Sinclair, an iconic American poet from Flint, Michigan, is the former leader of the White Panther Party, which was an anti-racist counter cultural group of white socialists seeking to help the Black Panthers in the Civil Rights movement from November 1968 to July 1969.
Sinclair has also been steering the marijuana counter culture towards legalization since 1965. He was introduced to marijuana activism after receiving, from New York City, a marijuana flier from Allen Ginsburg and Ed Sanders’ pro marijuana group LeMar (Organization to Legalize Marijuana). Being familiar with a print press, Sinclair created his own marijuana flier and began holding monthly meetings to end marijuana prohibition in the state of Michigan.
"Every generation must re-win its own freedoms." - Gatewood Galbraith
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Who: 2011 Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate, Gatewood Galbraith; Executive Director of Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), Paul Stanford; and Time 4 Hemp Radio Host Casper Leitch.
What: Fundraiser for Gatewood Galbraith 2011 Kentucky Gubernatorial Campaign. Topic is "Industrial Hemp in America". Free to attend, but donations are accepted. Refreshments provided.
When: Saturday, May 14 - 3:30-5:30pm
Where: Clinton Street Theater
2522 South East Clinton Street
Portland, Oregon 97202-1239
Why: Now's the Time....Whether you support the Teapot Party, Tea Party or any other party, this candidate appeals to a wide variety of voters and is sure to stir up some governmental changes across the United States.
Gatewood Galbraith is currently campaigning for Kentucky's 2011 gubernatorial race as an Independent, free from any party affiliations, and describes himself as free from hidden agenda. His pledge is to end the "synthetic subversion" in his state.