Oregon's Measure 91 campaign to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana officially launched its $2 million plus advertising blitz, debuting a retired law enforcement officer in the TV spot.
The new ad -- which you can see at the bottom of this story -- hit the airwaves Wednesday morning and is running on a wide range of broadcast and cable networks, including the newscasts of KGW, KATU, KOIN, KPTV, KEZI, KVAL and KMTR.
"It's About Time" features Pete Tutmark, a longtime Oregonian who has spent 33 years in law enforcement, including many years as patrol sergeant, sheriff's deputy and the supervisor of a K9 unit. The 57-year-old father of two and grandfather of three lives in Canby, Ore.
"Last year in Oregon, there were 13,000 citations and arrests for marijuana," Tutmark says in the ad. "That takes time, time better spent solving murders, rape cases, finding missing children. The system's broken. Measure 91 regulates marijuana for adults so police have time to fight serious, violent and unsolved crimes."
Tutmark joins high-profile law enforcement leaders in Oregon who have endorsed the Yes on 91 campaign, including retired chief federal prosecutor Kris Olson and retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs.
A newly released 45-second motion graphic shows why it's time to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana in Oregon. You might recognize the narrator's voice from radio and telelvision.
Rick Steves, travel guru, narrates this animated video that explains how our current marijuana policies are failing us. Steves is launching a six-day, 11-city tour around Oregon in support of Measure 91.
Oregon's Measure 91 would create a regulated system that would refocus police time on serious crimes, hobble the black market cartels, and direct millions of dollars to education, drug treatment and prevention, and law enforcement.
Learn more at www.VoteYESon91.com .
420careers.com, a marijuana industry job listing site, on Monday reported that the swiftly developing cannabis industry is generating an extraordinary and historic amount of jobs throughout the United States and Canada.
“The marijuana industry is producing more new jobs than many other industries in the United States,” said Colby Ayres, director of marketing at 420careers.com. "Each state that passes a medical or recreational marijuana law usually generates hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs.
"Colorado currently has over 10,000 jobs associated with the marijuana industry and Washington state is quickly creating hordes of new jobs since legalizing marijuana in July," Ayres said.
Twenty-two states permit medical marijuana and two states (Colorado and Washington) permit recreational marijuana for adult use. Nearly a dozen other states have medical marijuana legislation initiatives and an estimated five states will vote to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use by 2016.
It has been predicted that over a dozen more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use by 2018, which would potentially grow upwards of a $10 billion industry in the United States.
Some of more popular marijuana jobs currently offered on 420careers.com are: budtenders (dispensary patient consultants), cultivation experts, dispensary managers, writers, sales positions, delivery drivers, security staff, inventory staff, and various administrative and business development positions.
By Steve Elliott
Alison Holcomb trusts poop more than people. The author of Washington state's recreational marijuana law has suggested that the city of Spokane test its sewage for traces of cannabis in order to more accurately measure use by residents.
Holcomb, a lawyer with the ACLU, proposed the idea at a Tuesday meeting of the Spokane City Council's marijuana policy subcommittee, reports the Associated Press.
About 50 city leaders and residents make up the subcomittee, which attempts to deal with what cannabis legalization means for Spokane, a city of about 210,000, reports Jessica Glenza at The Guardian.
"We don't have really good data on usage and perceptions of harm," said city councilman Jon Snyder. "It's funny how the sewage thing has really captured people's imagination."
A University of Washington scientist liked the idea. "It's always good for a chuckle, but it actually does work," said Caleb Banta-Green, a researcher at the UW's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
Banta-Green, an epidemiologist, has tested sewage in Oregon and Washington for the presence of hard drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. "In some ways, I think my most surprising finding is that it works," he said.
Five more organizations on Friday endorsed Oregon’s Measure 91 to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older. These groups are:
• American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 88 (AFSCME), the largest employee union in Multnomah County with approximately 2,600 represented employees. They join AFSCME Local 328 and United Food and Commercial Workers 555, which had previous endorsed Measure 91.
• Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans, which works to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens. The Alliance joins the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens, as the second senior organization to endorse the campaign.
• Partnership for Safety and Justice, which works to reform the criminal justice system and achieve a more balanced approach to public safety. They join several other criminal justice organization like the ACLU of Oregon, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
By Steve Elliott
Some political candidates seem to be in denial about their marijuana use, but a write-in candidate for governor of Rhode Island wants to make sure voters know she uses cannabis every day for both cooking and medicinal purposes.
"Yes, I do smoke cannabis, and yes, I do inhale," says Anne Armstrong in a campaign video posted online this month, reports Sam Levine at The Huffington Post. "It helps me. It helps me to focus, it helps to facilitate communication."
Armstrong posted on her Facebook page that she wants a state where "common sense, compassion, and cooperation can recreate Rhode Island into a place where everyone can live in abundance."
"It doesn't make people crazy, the way you've been told," Armstrong says of marijuana in the ad. "I hope that you will read and open your eyes and realize the truth that we've been lied to for a long time by our government."
Armstrong said in a speech earlier this month at Boston Hempfest that if she were elected governor, she would eliminate all penalties for growing, sharing and using cannabis in Rhode Island.
"I'm gonna site and use cannabis as I govern from my office," Armstrong said. "And I am gonna have my cannabis in the rotunda of the Statehouse and it is gonna be a people's cannabis garden."
Rhode Island permits the cultivation and use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.
3 Points for Voters to Consider When Reviewing Proposed Marijuana Laws
Cannabis Industry Expert Looks at Pros & Cons
Voters in seven states, one U.S. territory, and at least 17 cities and counties across the nation will face a marijuana initiative when they go to the polls in November. For some, the question is easy: They’re either for some level of legalizing marijuana or against it.
But for others, the issue is not so cut and dried. Decriminalizing marijuana can be good for the country – and it can be potentially dangerous, says Wall Street commodities expert Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex (www.amercanex.com), an electronic marketplace exchange for the cannabis industry.
“I’m a part of the industry, but that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of every measure to legalize pot,” Janjic says. “We need to proceed with care and thoughtful consideration of possible consequences, intended and unintended, of the decisions we make.
“We have the opportunity to fix some problems through decriminalization, but we don’t want to end up with even bigger problems down the road,” Janjic said.
The November initiatives range from legalizing recreational marijuana sales and use for adults in Oregon and Alaska to permitting it for medical purposes in Florida and Guam, to decriminalizing possession of small amounts in cities and counties in Maine, Michigan and New Mexico. Californians will decide whether to downgrade possession to a misdemeanor.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is filing a committee with the California Secretary of State on Wednesday to support a 2016 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in California. According to MPP, "It will be part of a broad coalition of local activists, community leaders, organizations, and businesses working to pass a measure similar to the one approved by voters in Colorado in 2012."
The new committee, the Marijuana Policy Project of California, will immediately begin raising funds to help place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. MPP was the largest financial backer of the Colorado initiative campaign.
“Marijuana prohibition has had an enormously detrimental impact on California communities," said MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. "It’s been ineffective, wasteful, and counterproductive. It’s time for a more responsible approach.
“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible," Kampia said. "Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.
“Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and that’s how it needs to be treated," Kampia said. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense.”
Rick Steves, one of America's most respected travel authorities, is launching a six-day, 10-city tour around Oregon to talk about travel and the need for marijuana reform in Oregon.
The Yes on 91 campaign will join him. On the November ballot, Measure 91 will regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In "Travel as a Political Act: Ending marijuana prohibition in Oregon," Steves will share how travel has shown him how different societies tackle the same problems. Steves co-sponsored I-502, Washington's limited ballot measure to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana.
"One thing I've learned in 30 years of travel is that treating marijuana as a crime does not work," he said. "A better approach is to regulate it, legalize it and tax it. I'm an advocate for better policy, and that's what Oregon will get once Measure 91 passes."
With one exception, all the events are free and open to the public. To RSVP, click here.
Tuesday, October 7
First Congregational Church, 5:30 PM*
*Wine and Cheese Meet and Greet, $250/person (Limited space, reserve tickets in advance online)
Tuesday, October 7
First Congregational Church, 7 PM**
Wednesday, October 8
Ava Roasteria, Noon
Wednesday, October 8
Grand Ballroom, Noon
Thursday, October 9
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, 5:30 PM
Thursday, October 9
ACLU Annual Membership Meeting
Friday, October 10
By Steve Elliott
A new study indicates that if Maryland legalized marijuana, it would bring Maryland more than $40 million in taxes revenues.
The study by financial advisory company Nerd Wallet found that the United States would make $3 billion in taxes if cannabis were legally sold; it then broke down what every state could expect in marijuana revenue, reports Megan Pringle at WBAL-TV.
Due to the illegal nature of marijuana in 48 states, it's hard to get good numbers on the amount of weed that's bought and consumed. To estimate what each state would get from cannabis sales, Nerd Wallet said it had to rely on how many people report smoking pot to the federal government -- so it's a pretty safe bet that there numbers are substantially low.
The study found that in Maryland, more than 145,000 people use cannabis. Based on that, and estimated tax revenues, if marijuana were legal, it would bring Maryland $40,548,337m, the study estimated.
California would make the most, at $500 million, while Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota would make the least, each with less than $10 million, the study showed.
Texas, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida are all estimated to get more than $100 million from legalization.
By Steve Elliott
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said on Monday that he will drop all tickets issued for using marijuana in public that were issued through the first seven months of 2014, because most of them were written by one police officer, Randy Jokela (pictured), who disagrees with cannabis legalization.
In a briefing to the Seattle City Council, Holmes said he is moving to dismiss about 100 tickets issued by the Seattle Police Department between January 1 and July 31, reports Gene Johnson of the Associated Press.
His office also said it would be seeking a refund for 22 people who had already paid their $27 ticket.
One single officer, Jokela, wrote about 80 percent of the tickets, writing on one that he thinks pot legalization is "silly."
Jokela was temporarily reassigned, and the department's Office of Professional Accountability is supposedly investigating.
Photo of Randy Jokela: Brandi Kruse/KIRO Radio
By Steve Elliott
If you're a television news reporter and you decide to quit, you might as well do it live on the air and in a spectacular fashion -- at least, that was apparently the thinking of Charlo Greene, who outed herself as the owner of a medical marijuana club and told viewers she was quitting her job to focus on legalization.
Greene reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during TV station KTVA's Sunday night news broadcast, but didn't reveal her connection to the club until a live shot at the end of her report, according Laurel Andrews at the Alaska Dispatch News.
"Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalization of marijuana here in Alaska," Greene said live on the air. "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit."
With that, Greene walked off camera.
Alaska Cannabis Club had earlier urged its Facebook followers to tune in to the news broadcast Sunday evening. Greene later said KTVA had no idea she was going to quit, or how, or that she was connected to the dispensary.
Greene said she quit so dramatically "Because I wanted to draw attention to this issue. And the issue is medical marijuana.
Measure 91: Kris Olson, one of Oregon's most respected prosecutors, endorses campaign
Oregon's former U.S. Attorney, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, has endorsed Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Kris Olson has worked in justice and law enforcement for more than 40 years."I enforced our marijuana laws, and they don't work," she said.
"Filling our courts and jails has failed to reduce marijuana use, and drug cartels are pocketing all the profits," Olson said.
Olson joins several other high-profile supporters of Measure 91, including former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs and former Addictions and Mental Health Services of Oregon director Richard Harris.
By Steve Elliott
Military veterans who use marijuana are invited to Denver on Saturday, September 20, where a pro-cannabis organization plans to host a weed giveaway for vets who want it.
The group Operation Grow4Vets will hand out marijuana and cannabis products from 11 a.m until 3 p.m. at the Quality Inn in Central Denver, reports Denver Nicks at Time. Total value of the products given away to each veteran who RSVPs for the event by noon on Friday will be worth more than $200, according to the group.
Non-veterans will be asked for a $20 donation at the door and will get more than $100 in marijuana products in exchange, organizers told ABC7 News Denver.
Grow4Vets' mission is to "reduce the staggering number of Veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose," by providing them "with the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain or grow their own marijuana for treatment of their medical conditions," according to the group's website.
The event is open to the public and restricted to adults 21 and older. "Our events are open to the public to help grow visibility for our cause," Operation Grow4Vets founder and executive director Roger Martin explained.
A repeat of the event will be held in Colorado Springs next Saturday, September 27.
As more states legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, entrepreneurs believe they'll get rich from cannabis businesses that comply with the laws of a particular state. However, marijuana businesses that comply with state laws are still breaking federal law and, therefore, are criminal enterprises.
Business advisory and advocacy law firm McDonald Hopkins addresses this issue in a special report designed to help potential investors, vendors, and professionals, such as lawyers and bankers, understand the risks involved in participating in the so-called "legal marijuana business."
The report, authored by Bruce Reinhart, co-chair of McDonald Hopkins' white collar and government compliance practice group, details how federal law regulates controlled substances, and that only certain persons registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) can manufacture, distribute, and dispense controlled substances.
Reinhart outlines the tremendous risks businesses and business owners take on when dealing with legal marijuana businesses, including exposure to criminal prosecution, loss of assets, civil penalties, loss of licensure, and fiduciary duty litigation. These risks are assumed in an environment with limited -- if any -- protection from legal counsel or insurance.
Given the current legislative landscape, the report warns that the decision to enter the legal marijuana market should be made cautiously and with the advice of legal counsel experienced in criminal, civil, and forfeiture law.