The economic impact of legalizing marijuana in Oregon is difficult to estimate because the potential market will depend in large part on what kind of policies would be adopted if a proposed ballot measure passes in November, according to an Oregon State University sociologist who studies the issue.
“Marijuana is already a serious economic force in Oregon,” said Seth Crawford, an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon. “When you consider the proposed excise tax and additional revenue from income taxes, it could become a sizeable income stream for the state.”
Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana production and use. Policymakers are trying to determine the economic impact of legalizing marijuana and Crawford’s research was recently cited in an economic report commissioned by backers of the ballot initiative, as well as by the state legislative revenue office.
If marijuana is legalized in Oregon, the state could net anywhere from $35 million to $105 million in new tax revenue per year, Crawford estimated in research published earlier this year in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.
By Steve Elliott
A bicycle officer who was briefly reassigned after it was discovered he had personally written 80 percent of the tickets for public marijuana use issued in the city this year has returned to his regular job, the Seattle Police Department announced Monday afternoon.
Police claim they're still investigating the conduct of Officer Randy Jokela, who has been with the force 24 years and who seems to be having real trouble adjusting to the implementation of I-502, the limited marijuana legalization measure approved by Washington state voters in 2012.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole and Pierce Murphy, director of the SPD's Office of Professional Accountability, "conferred and ultimately decided that there was nothing that precludes this employee from returning to his normal duties," according to department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.d
While the department did not name their officer -- apparently they aren't all that proud of him -- Jokela, was identified by sources within the department as a patrolman who joined the force in 1990. He wrote 66 of 83 tickets for public use of marijuana issued in the first half of 2014, O'Toole said.
Southern Colorado recreational marijuana dispensary Cannasseur has large customer base from surrounding states
Cannasseur, a recreational marijuana dispensary serving Southern Colorado, experienced a surge in out-of-state customers upon opening their doors in May, as their location in Pueblo West, Colorado is a mere hour and a half from the state border.
However, unlike many Colorado dispensaries that offer discounts to local patrons only, Cannasseur welcomes and embraces the tourism their business brings to the area.
“We’ve found that upwards of 80 percent of our revenue is coming from bordering states that have not yet legalized recreational marijuana,” said Ryan Griego, managing partner at Cannasseur. “We want these visitors to the dispensary to feel welcomed and at ease.”
Many of Cannasseur’s customers are from neighboring states to the south, west and east including Oklahoma, Kansas and Utah, with the largest factions coming from Northwest Texas, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Cannasseur anticipates that the Colorado State Fair (August 22-September 1) will draw even more tourists to the Pueblo area, many of whom will visit the dispensary.
This comes as no surprise to Griego who made sure that Cannasseur’s business model has a heavy emphasis on customer service, highly educated staff members and a relaxing, inviting environment.
By Steve Elliott
For almost six weeks now, Seattle's lone recreational marijuana store, Cannabis City, has struggling to stay open, repeatedly running out of legal cannabis priced around $25 a gram. Now, a second pot store, Herbal Nation, has finally opened in the Emerald City.
The new state-licensed marijuana store, at 19302 Bothell Everett Highway in Seattle, held its grand opening on Monday, and staff said they believe they have enough weed to stay open seven days a week, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.
"Judging by the initial line at opening, there will be plenty of folks trying to run 'em dry," Ellison reports.
"It's a very exciting day for us, but it's more of an exciting day for the community," said Lauren Downes, spokeswoman for Herbal Nation. "Washington state voted this in and we feel privileged to be in the position that we're in.
"We do not consider ourselves to just be retailers of cannabis," Downes said. "We are here to set a standard in the industry, and implement positive change and evolution in the recreational cannabis industry."
Similar proposals are also likely to appear on ballots in Lewiston and York
The South Portland City Council on Monday voted unanimously to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.
Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 1,500 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. A similar measure has qualified for the ballot in Lewiston, and Citizens for a Safer Maine is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.
The South Portland initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.
“Voters will have the chance to take a bite out of marijuana prohibition in South Portland this November,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “This is a great opportunity to have an open and honest public dialogue about this important issue. In particular, we hope to continue the conversation about the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.
Oregon's leading drug addiction expert kicks off $2.3 million marijuana ad campaign
Largest ad buy so far for 2014 Oregon ballot measures
Oregon's leading drug addiction expert appears on Monday in the first TV spot in a $2.3 million advertising campaign to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.
The advertising buy made by the Yes on 91 campaign is the largest so far for a 2014 Oregon ballot measure.
The first TV advertisement features Richard Harris. As the former director of Addictions and Mental Health Services for the state of Oregon, he held the highest position in the state for directing drug treatment and addiction programs. He is volunteering with the campaign.
The ad, in which Harris calls marijuana "a pretty benign drug," will run on television stations throughout Oregon. The Yes on 91 campaign also has several ads running on pre-roll online. (You can view the Harris ad, which is on YouTube, at the bottom of this article.)
"Criminalizing marijuana ruins lives and wastes resources," Harris said. "Instead of sending people to jail and turning them into hardened criminals, we should treat marijuana as a public health issue and create a system that raises money for prevention programs and mental health programs.
"Right now, there is no state appropriated money in Oregon for drug and alcohol prevention programs, including for marijuana, but Measure 91 would change that," Harris said.
The South Portland City Council will consider a citizen-initiated measure at its meeting Monday night that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults. The council can enact the proposed law or place it on the ballot.
Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,500 signatures to place the measure in front of the council. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.
Citizens for a Safer Maine qualified a similar measure for the ballot in Lewiston, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.
The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.
The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.
“This is a common-sense proposal,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “Adults who are of legal age to use alcohol should not be punished simply for consuming a far less harmful substance.
"We hope the council members will agree law enforcement officials’ time and resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes,” Boyer said.
WHAT: South Portland City Council hearing on a citizen-initiated measure that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults
WHEN: Monday, August 18, 7 p.m. ET
WHERE: South Portland City Hall, 25 Cottage Rd., South Portland
By D. Paul Stanford, CRRH
Oregon's Ballot Measure 91 qualified for the vote on July 22nd, almost exactly two weeks after Washington state began regulated sales of marijuana just across the mighty Columbia River from Oregon. New Approach Oregon's petition campaign turned in enough valid signatures to qualify the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act for the November 4, 2014 ballot. On the same day in November, both the state of Alaska and the federal capitol, Washington, DC, will also vote on their own initiative petitions to end marijuana prohibition.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State's website, 145,030 unverified signatures were submitted for verification on Measure 91. Of those, 88,584 signatures, or 64.41 percent of the 135,722 accepted for verification, were valid. To qualify for the ballot, 87,213 were needed, so, according to the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division, Measure 91 qualified with 1,371 more signatures than the minimum required..
The proposed Oregon ballot measure would allow for licensed and regulated cultivation and sales of marijuana. Sales would be taxed to generate money for schools, state and local police and drug treatment, prevention and mental health programs.
It is important for medical marijuana patients to note that Measure 91, when passed, will not change nor effect the current medical marijuana law in Oregon. Measure 91 taxes will not be charged for people with an Oregon medical marijuana permit.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana, it seems, often leads to pizza. Now at least one company is cutting to the chase and combining the two.
Unique Pizza and Subs Corporation on Tuesday announced it will "explore the possibility" of developing a signature Unique Pizza with cannabis infused into it.
The company said it believes, with the increasing demand for marijuana in Colorado under legalization, "it would utilize Dr. Reddy's world renowned skills, laboratories and test kitchen to develop a signature line of marijuana enhanced Unique Pizzas, that could be sold at adult bars and night clubs throughout the state."
"Utilizing Dr. Reddy's superior scientific technology affords the company a Unique opportunity to explore the various possibilities in the fast growing marijuana industry," the company's prepared statement reads.
After the legalization of cannabis, Colorado began the testing of marijuana edible products on May 1, putting the state in the developmental forefront of the industry.
"Unique Pizza would like to be on the vanguard of the hot and ready edible cannabis industry and believe that bringing together Dr. Reddy's superior scientific skills with Unique Pizza's industry leading gourmet taste is the perfect blend of flavors to lead this new frontier," the press release reads.
The Green Joint, a recreational marijuana dispensary in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, opened its doors to the pot-loving masses on August 1. Owned by locals Cheryl and Dan Sullivan, The Green Joint is the third recreational marijuana shop to open in Glenwood Springs since recreational weed became legal January 1.
The Sullivans have served the greater Roaring Fork Valley for the last five years with Green Medicine Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary, and now the Green Joint and Green Medicine Wellness operate out of the same appropriately green Victorian in the heart of Glenwood Springs.
“Bringing high quality recreational products to the masses has been a dream of ours for a long time,” said Dan. “We’ve seen visitors from France, the UK, and all over the U.S. in the short time that we’ve been open. It’s been incredible to see the excitement on the face of every customer that has walked through our door.”
Located at 1030 Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs, The Green Joint offers a central
location and a discreet, comfortable atmosphere, according to Sullivan. Recreational patrons are greeted upon entry and can browse the marijuana selection upstairs in a relaxed setting (medical customers stay on the main level).
Guests can make themselves at home on couches if there is a wait, and everyone from weed veterans to weed novices are encouraged to ask questions and learn about favorite strains and different offerings at The Green Joint.
Hickenlooper’s Marijuana Prevention Campaign Eerily Reminiscent of Failed “This is Your Brain” Effort
Approach Emphasizes Scare Tactics over More Effective Reality-Based Education
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has introduced his administration’s marijuana prevention campaign to deter underage consumption -- and unfortunately, it uses scare tactics rather than a reality-based approach. The campaign is slated to waste $2 million of taxpayer money.
The theme of the campaign is marijuana’s potential impact on the developing adolescent brain, using the slogan “don’t be a lab rat.” The administration plans to place human sized rat cages throughout the city of Denver, particularly at high-traffic bus stops.
While flashy and memorable, the campaign has raised concerns among advocates who question the credibility of this approach. Drug policy reformers and prevention experts invoke the cynicism generated by 1980s-era scare tactic efforts such as the notorious “This is your brain on drugs” ad, widely recognized today as far more attention grabbing than drug deterring.
Advocates recommend instead an approach that focuses on credible drug education delivered through programs and initiatives that focus on overall youth health and development. Reality-based efforts engage students and prevent the cynicism resulting from simplistic scare tactics. Furthermore, to be successful, parents and/or guardians should be directly involved in drug education and prevention efforts.
By Steve Elliott
The very first edible recreational marijuana products are now being sold legally in Washington state, a month after cannabis itself went on sale in state-licensed stores.
Due to strict regulations from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, no kitchens had been approved for producing marijuana edibles last month when cannabis sales began on July 8.
Al Olson, the marijuana editor at CNBC.com, bought the first approved edibles in Bellingham, Washington, at a store called Top Shelf Cannabis, reports Katy Steinmetz at Time. Olson bought about $200 on Green Chief "Crazy Carnival Nuts," "420 Party Mix," and "Twisted Trail Mix," as well as on a vaporizer pen and vape pen battery.
The marijuana-infused nut clusters, trail mix and party mix cost around $25 per bag.
Top Shelf opened at 10 p.m. on Wednesday in order to be the first store to sell the products, owner John Evich said, reports Trevor Hughes at USA Today. "It's something interesting and fun," Evich said. "Going down a list of menu items -- I think it's something new for people."
Rates of current and lifetime marijuana use among Colorado high school students has dropped since the state's voters made marijuana legal in 2012, according to a Thursday press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“Thirty-day marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years,” according to the release. It has dropped nearly five points since 2009 (24.8 percent), when hundreds of medical marijuana stores began opening throughout Colorado.
The state began regulating medical marijuana in 2010. The CDPHE release says the drop from 2011 to 2013 is not statistically significant, but it appears the drop from 2009 to 2013 could be. In either case, it is clear that use among high school students has not increased.
Nationwide, the rate of current teen marijuana use increased from 20.8 percent in 2009 to 23.1 percent in 2011 and 23.4 percent in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The national rate of lifetime use increased from 36.8 percent in 2009 to 39.9 percent in 2011 and 40.7 percent in 2013.
Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday will submit its final batch of petitions in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older within Lewiston city limits.
The group has collected more than 1,250 total signatures, and just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters are needed to qualify for the ballot. The city clerk has 10 days to certify the petition. Then it must submit it to the city council for consideration at its next regular meeting, at which time council members can enact the measure or refer it to city voters.
“I hope council members will join us in supporting this commonsense measure,” said David Boyer, spokesperson for Citizens for a Safer Maine and Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “If they don’t enact the measure, it should be placed on the November ballot for Lewiston voters to decide.”
Citizens for a Safer Maine has qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.
“Law enforcement officials have better things to do than punish adults for using a less harmful substance than alcohol,” said Boyer. “If the council or voters approve this measure, we expect police to respect the decision.
"Police can refrain from citing adults they find in possession of marijuana, just as they can refrain from citing someone they find driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit,” Boyer said.
Drug Policy Alliance Kicks Off “Legalization Ends Discrimination” Campaign
Campaign Sets Stage for Washington DC to be First Jurisdiction to Legalize Marijuana in Racial Justice Context
The Washington, DC Board of Elections on Wednesday ruled that Initiative 71, an measure reforming DC’s marijuana laws, has enough valid signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot. One month ago, the DC Cannabis Campaign submitted 57,000 signatures, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot.
According to an ACLU report released last year, Washington, DC has the highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the country, with blacks more than 8 times as likely as white to be arrested, despite similar rates of use.
“It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that citizens want a major change in DC’s marijuana laws,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, DC policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The policies of prohibition in the District have been borne on the backs of people of color for decades; District residents can put an end to this discrimination.”