Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) has penned an open letter to President Obama, urging him to take action in reversing course on federal marijuana policy.
“As you begin your last year in office,”
the letter reads,
“I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances.”
Blumenauer goes on to cite the high rates of incarceration and arrest that stem from marijuana possession and laments that federal authorities’ focus on cannabis has diverted attention from other, mores serious and deadly substances, like cocaine and heroin.
Blumenauer has long been a crusader on the issue of legalized cannabis. He was instrumental in Oregon’s 2014 passage of Measure 91, which ended in-state cannabis prohibition among adults. He has also been active in reaching across the aisle on the issue, even working with Club For Growth head Grover Norquist on the issue.
The Oregon legislator’s passion on the issue shines through in his letter to the president, which ends on an emotional note.
“It is time, Mr. President, for you to take the next logical step, cementing your legacy in history on drug reform and a fairer criminal justice system,”
he says. “Please seize the moment. We can’t wait.
After only one week of recreational cannabis sales, dispensaries in Oregon have sold an estimated $11 million worth of cannabis products.
A dispensary called Nectar, on Northeast Sandy Boulevard and 33rd Avenue, cannot restock shelves quickly enough to keep up with consumer demand.
“We’re seeing about 500 people a day,”
said Jeff Johnson, owner of Nectar.
Having been in Denver and Seattle when recreational sales began, we can tell you it’s a lot like Black Friday. People start lining up hours before the store opens, buzzing with excitement and ready to be a part of history.
said a customer named Peter.
“It’s just really weird, it feels like it’s not even really happening to be honest, it’s really bizarre.”
Another curious customer, Emily Szczech had a different motive.
“We just wanted to come in and check it out,” she said. “We’ve never been able to go into one of the stores to see what it’s like.”
The Oregon Retail Cannabis Association told reporters at KGW Portland that they estimated $3.5 million in sales happened on the first day of legal retail sales. What’s most impressive is the speed at which Oregonians adopted the new law. In comparison, Colorado sold roughly $5 million in their first week of legal recreational sales.
A number of factors played into the early success of Oregon retail sales, including the number of operating dispensaries open for business on ‘Day 1.’ There were far more ready and waiting in the Beaver State than there were in Colorado or Washington.
When Measure 91 passed in Oregon, the state estimated they would bring in $9 million in tax revenue for the first year full year of sales, but the Oregon Retail Cannabis Association thinks that number may be three or four times that figure now that the first week is complete.
All sales of recreational cannabis in Oregon are tax-free until January 2016, when a 25 percent tax is to be added to all sales.
photo credit: Nectar
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon, which was officially implemented on July 1, has resulted in a policy change for in-state travel from Portland International Airport.
The new policy allows for adult passengers of legal age to board a flight with up to one ounce of marijuana — as long as the flight is landing within the Beaver State. It will remain illegal to carry marijuana out of the state, which means it will only be allowed on the plane if the flight is headed to Eugene, Medford, Redmond/Bend, or N. Bend/Coos Bay.
One ounce is the legal amount that residents are able to carry outside of their homes, according to Measure 91. This means that travelers will be able to bring the largest amount that the law allows onto their flights.
If marijuana is found on a traveler by a TSA agent, local law enforcement will be notified. The officer will then be responsible for checking the age and boarding pass of the traveler. As long as he or she is of-age, in possession of a legal amount, and landing in Oregon, the person will be allowed to board the flight.
TSA reported that agents will not be actively looking for cannabis on a passenger traveling out of state, the passenger will be asked to step out of line to discard the product before getting back in line. Smoking on the plane will remain illegal and punishable by law.