New Federal Drug Decriminalization Bill Follows Oregon’s Lead

“Every 23 seconds, a person’s life is ruined for simply possessing drugs. Drug possession remains the most arrested offense in the United States despite the well-known fact that drug criminalization does nothing to help communities, it ruins them. It tears families apart, and causes trauma that can be felt for generations. The drug war has caused mass devastation to Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income communities and today we say, ‘Enough is enough!’” Queen Adesuyi, Policy Manager for the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

Richard Nixon named drug abuse “public enemy number one” and declared a war on drugs a half century ago and the Drug War is clearly an abysmal failure that has had dire racist and classist consequences, ruining too many lives over the last 50 years. Just ahead of the June 17th anniversary of Nixon’s launch of an ill-fated war on our own citizens, federal legislation has been introduced that follows the lead of Oregon Measure 110, a drug decriminalization bill that reinvests resources towards addiction and treatment services. Just as they helped craft Oregon’s pioneering move towards a health-based approach to treating drugs, the Drug Policy Alliance partnered with Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Cori Bush (D-MO) to introduce the Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA) to, among other things, end federal criminal penalties for drug possession, shift the regulatory authority from the Attorney General to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), expunge records and provide for resentencing, and reinvest in alternative health-centered approaches. The DPRA also eliminates many of the collateral consequences associated with drug convictions, including the denial of job opportunities, public benefits, immigration status, drivers’ licenses, and the right to vote.

DPA laid out many of the reform provisions of the Drug Policy Reform Act in a press release:

  • Automatically expunges and seals records.
  • Provides relief for people currently incarcerated or on supervision for certain drug convictions.
  • Shifts the regulatory authority for substances listed under the Controlled Substances Act from the Attorney General to the Secretary of HHS. 
  • Reinvests funds to support programs that work on expanding access to substance use treatment, support harm reduction services, and reduce the criminalization of individuals who use drugs by supporting the development or expansion of pre-arrest diversion programs.
  • Promotes evidence-based drug education.
  • Prohibits the denial of employment or termination based upon a criminal history for drug possession.
  • Explicitly prohibits drug testing for individuals to receive federal benefits.
  • Prevents drug use charges/convictions from being held against an individual in order to receive SNAP/TANF, housing assistance and other federal benefits.
  • Prevents individuals in the U.S. from being denied immigration status due to personal drug use.
  • Prevents individuals from being denied the right to vote regardless if they have served their sentence or not, and restores voting rights to those who have been impacted in the past.
  • Ensures individuals with drug convictions can gain access to drivers’ licenses.
  • Prohibits the use of civil asset forfeitures related to personal drug possession cases.
  • Charges HHS with establishing a “Commission on Substance Use, Health and Safety,” to determine the benchmark amounts for drug possession and publish an online report on their findings within 180 days. The report will also include recommendations for preventing the prosecution of individuals possessing, distributing or dispensing personal use quantities of each drug.
  • Improves research on impact of drug criminalization and enforcement.
  • Funds data collection and transparency on all available data related to enforcement of drug laws, including local arrests for drug possession and distribution offenses, possession of drug paraphernalia, public or intoxication, loitering, and all other drug-related violations.

“I lived through a malicious marijuana war that saw Black people arrested for possession at three times the rate of their white counterparts, even though usage rates are similar. As a nurse, I’ve watched Black families criminalized for heroin use while white families are treated for opioid use. And now, as a Congresswoman, I am seeing the pattern repeat itself with fentanyl, as the DEA presses for an expanded classification that would criminalize possession and use. This punitive approach creates more pain, increases substance use, and leaves millions of people to live in shame and isolation with limited support and healing,” Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush. 

“The United States has not simply failed in how we carried out the War on Drugs – the War on Drugs stands as a stain on our national conscience since its very inception. Begun in 1972 as a cynical political tactic of the Nixon Administration, the War on Drugs has destroyed the lives of countless Americans and their families. As we work to solve this issue, it is essential that we change tactics in how we address drug use away from the failed punitive approach and towards a health-based and evidence-based approach,” New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

I definitely want to take a moment to note that DPA has many women in their leadership ranks, that I was proud to work for and with many women on Measure 110 (including my co-chief petitioners) and that this landmark legislation is being introduced by women. Additionally, the Health Justice and Recovery Alliance, the group leading Measure 110’s implementation at the Oregon Legislature, ensuring that the will of the voters is fulfilled, is led by women. It takes bold leadership to tackle entrenched special interests like the prison-industrial complex, but these women ain’t scared of doing what’s right for our nation. They understand that our policies shouldn’t focus on the drugs, the focus should be on people, what we want for our loved ones, as drug use and addiction crosses all demographics.

With over 80% of Americans agreeing that the Drug War has failed and 2/3 of voters wanting to follow Oregon’s lead in “eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services,” there has never been a better time to debate a new approach to drugs in the halls of Congress. Just as cannabis legalization was successful state by state, creating the momentum to pass the MORE Act last year, Drug War reforms will follow a similar pattern. Oregonians can be proud of helping lead the way, by passing Measure 110 with nearly 59% of the vote, in our fight to end Nixon’s futile and harmful war on American citizens.

UFC Legend Nate Diaz Lit Up Cannabis, then the Octagon, then the MMA World

Fighter Nate Diaz has never won a title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a legend with mixed martial arts (MMA) fans due to his all-around talent combined with his entertaining, never-say-die fighting style. Diaz has amazing cardio and jiu-jitsu skills and he apparently loves to box and brawl in the ring (or the UFC’s Octagon), often leaving the fight in a bloody mess. Many of his fights aren’t for the squeamish, but his skill set has captured the hearts of fans and other fighters.

Nate and his brother Nick have both earned cult-like status with fighting fans for their action-packed fights, especially among the cannabis community as they’ve both been very open about their cannabis use. With seemingly an endless amount of cardio, the Diaz brothers have certainly shattered the stereotype of the “lazy stoner.”

Nate took his stature up a notch last weekend, which seemed unlikely given where he was in the past with a win and entertaining loss with fellow MMA legend Conor McGregor (thus far, the biggest UFC star of all-time). However, leave it to a Diaz brother to manage to still shock the MMA world, first by lighting up cannabis at a pre-fight press conference and then almost knocking out top contender Leon Edwards after Edwards had battered, bruised, and bloodied Diaz over the course of five rounds. Leon may have won the sporting competition and could be getting a title shot soon, but it was Nate that won the fight in how he was still elevated in the minds of fight fans around the world.

MMA Fighting reported on how Diaz captured attention before his last fight:

“Great working with AZ Commission, who are adopting our testing program/rules for this weekend,” (UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff) Novitzky tweeted ahead of UFC 263 in Arizona. “Only issue with marijuana (THC) for Saturday’s fights is don’t show up impaired or under the influence. How it should be!”

Diaz, a well-known and well documented marijuana user, took full advantage. He was seen lighting up a joint on stage during the press conference.

“That’s Kill_4209,” Diaz answered when asked what he was smoking. “That’s the chronic, right there baby. You already know what’s up.”

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani summed up how Diaz ended up winning even though he lost on the judge’s scorecard:

Why? Because after getting beat up for 24 minutes, Diaz rocked Edwards with a left. Diaz pointed at Edwards, he mocked him, he rocked him some more — but then Diaz ran out of time.

Another minute and Diaz could have potentially finished Edwards. Had Diaz done so, it would have been one of the wildest things this sport has ever witnessed. It would have vaulted Diaz, the icon, the superstar, the needle mover, into another stratosphere. But alas, he ran out of time.

Still, it was Diaz who was celebrating after the judges’ scorecards were read. It was Diaz who received the standing ovation and cheers from the crowd. It was Diaz who was the talk of social media afterward.

Whether you are a fight fan or a sports fan at all, it is undeniable that professional athletes are important in the United States and help shape our culture. Cultural victories can be about as crucial as political and legal ones, and shattering stereotypes move us one step closer towards winning our ultimate fight for freedom. Thank you, Nate Diaz for helping knock down another Reefer Madness stereotype.

Summer in Oregon means outdoor adventures and getting out and about in a variety of activities. No matter how you celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Kind Leaf is a must stop for the cannabis community, so come visit Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique to peruse the best selection in the state. You can even order online via Leafly to save time. And please let us know if you are an OMMP patient, military veteran, or senior citizen so you can get the discount that you deserve.

Featured photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

A Group of Veterans Want Uncle Sam to Reconsider Cannabis Classification

“It’s a relic of a bygone era,” attorney Shane Pennington told a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

Everyone but the most delusional or misleading Reefer Madness prohibitionist understands that the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” is a nonsensical farce. How can cannabis, a substance that the federal government has grown for patients to treat various medical conditions have no accepted medicinal use? How can Marinol, 100% synthetic THC, have an accepted medical use, but cannabis with 20% THC not be recognized for its medical qualities? This obviously makes no sense and a medical researcher and a group of military veterans are asking the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to force Uncle Sam to reconsider the ridiculous Schedule I classification, as Court News Services reports:

“In a case that could make the federal government reconsider how it classifies marijuana, a lawyer urged a Ninth Circuit panel Thursday to make the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reassess its 49-year-old position that cannabis has no accepted medical use.

***

“(Shane) Pennington represents Dr. Suzanne Sisley, an Arizona-based medical marijuana researcher, and three veterans who claim they suffer ongoing harm from the federal government’s refusal to reclassify cannabis as a drug with medicinal benefits. Their Ninth Circuit petition highlights research Sisley has conducted using marijuana to treat veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, the DEA has classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug — the most restrictive category — since 1972. Congress empowered the DEA to decide how drugs should be classified in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. That was around the same time former President Richard Nixon declared a ‘war on drugs.'”

It appears that the 9th Circuit may rule on this case based on a technicality regarding whether these veterans and Dr. Sisley have standing rather than on the actual merits of their arguments, but anytime you can shine a light on the utter absurdity of the War on Drugs, the better. A sincere thanks to these veterans and the good doctor for fighting the good fight.

Kind Leaf is proud to offer the best selection of cannabis in the Great Northwest and to provide discounts to military veterans, OMMP patients, and senior citizens.

Psychedelics Moving Mainstream in Good Housekeeping

“Psychedelic therapy can be such a dramatic experience, akin to a major life event like visiting another culture or falling in love,” Dr. Matthew Johnson, the Susan Hill Ward Professor in Psychedelics and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University.

To finally end the failed and harmful Drug War, and based upon polling released yesterday we are succeeding step by step, we need to breakthrough into the mainstream. We aren’t going to overcome decades of government propaganda and billions spent by the prison-industrial complex by just speaking to the choir, we have to meet people where they are at, especially key swing voting blocs. Not to stereotype anyone, but it doesn’t get much more mainstream, Middle America than Good Housekeeping, one of the top ten most circulated magazines in America. While print magazines are certainly waning in effectiveness, Good Housekeeping reaches people that are very likely to vote. The Good Housekeeping Institute founded the magazine 136 years ago, focusing on recipes, diet, and health, as well as literary articles. Today, I found it rather remarkable to see that Good Housekeeping had posted an article detailing the medicinal benefits of psychedelics in a piece titled, “Are Psychedelics the Next Big Cure?”:

“Psychedelic medicines, which also include peyote, ayahuasca and sometimes also MDMA (a.k.a. the “love drug” ecstasy or Molly), are increasingly being studied in reputable universities for a variety of ills. More than a hundred studies are currently listed on the government’s clinical trials website for psilocybin and LSD, and where it was once hard to recruit people to participate, researchers say folks are eagerly raising their hands.

“The reason: studies that have been completed, while preliminary, have been nothing short of amazing. For depressionanxietyaddictions and eating disorders, ‘people who have suffered for decades have made substantial change after this treatment,’ generally after just one to three doses in a supportive setting, says Natalie Gukasyan, M.D., medical director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. And these shifts seem to be lasting.

***

“Even healthy people may feel better when they use a psychedelics under controlled conditions. Anxiety decreased and positive affect increased a month after a dozen people took psilocybin in a controlled laboratory setting. A small group of people taking LSD similarly reported an increase in optimism, British researchers found. And a review Aday published last year found many who’ve tried psilocybin say they feel more connected, more spiritual and emotionally upbeat.”

The entire article by Meryl Davids Landau is definitely worth reading as it includes interesting testimonials and great insight from professionals, including Johns Hopkins Professor Dr. Matthew Johnson. The balanced overview notes that people should exercise caution, especially since non-clinical study use remains illegal in most instances, although recognizing that Oregon will be the first step to allow for regulated therapeutic psilocybin treatments once the state finishes up rules. With a supermajority of Americans understanding that the Drug War has failed, two-thirds wanting to decriminalize drug possession, and new evidence of psychedelic medicine’s potential, it’s only a matter of time before the War on Drugs crumbles. As trivial as some may think it is, the truth emerging in middle-of-the-road mainstream publications like Good Housekeeping is an important piece of the puzzle to dismantling the futile war our nation has waged against its own citizens for far too long.

No matter your type of trip, Kind Leaf should be a required stop. Check out the best cannabis selection in the Great Northwest or order online via Leafly. As always, we have special deals and provide discounts to senior citizens, military veterans, and Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) patients.

Poll: 66% of Americans Favor Following Oregon’s Lead and Decriminalizing Drugs

Like cannabis legalization before it, decriminalizing drugs used to seem like a far-fetched idea that would remain out of reach, thanks to decades of of propaganda and billions spent by the prison-industrial complex entrenching the Drug War within our society. However, 50 years after Richard Nixon first declared the War on Drugs, a new poll shows that a supermajority of Americans have declared the War on Drugs a failure with 66% wanting to follow Oregon’s lead in “eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services.”

The support for decriminalizing drugs jumped 11% from a CATO poll in 2019 that found that 55% of voters favored ending criminal penalties for possession. Adding that enforcement resources would be invested in treatment could explain a lot of the 11 point jump in support, a winning policy combination that garnered the support of nearly 59% of Oregonians who voted for Measure 110 last November. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) backed the Bully Pulpit Interactive poll and released statements regarding the findings:

“A different reality – one where we treat people who use drugs with dignity and respect, and one where drugs are no longer an excuse for law enforcement to surveil, harass, assault and even kill Black, Latinx and Indigenous people – is 100 percent possible, and these results clearly prove that,” said Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

“On this 50th anniversary of the drug war, President Biden must make good on his campaign promises and take steps to begin dismantling the system of over-policing and mass incarceration that is endemic to the War on Drugs. Today, drug possession continues to be the number one arrest in the United States, with  more than 1.35 million arrests per year. Every 25 seconds, a person is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use, with Black people disproportionately targeted by this over-policing,” said Udi Ofer, Director of the ACLU’S Justice Division.

With a whopping 83% of US voters agreeing that the War on Drugs has failed, it’s clearly time for citizens, legislators, and policymakers to look to implement sensible reforms that will treat drug use as a health matter, instead of a criminal one. We aren’t going to arrest and jail our way towards a drug-free society. It’s time to quit being naive and be realistic. Not many enjoy admitting that they made a mistake, but Uncle Sam made a huge one waging war against our own citizens. What people are finally realizing is that our policies shouldn’t be determined by our feelings about drugs, but about our concerns about what is best for our people. What do you want for your loved ones that may use drugs? Do you want a prison sentence without any adequate treatment or recovery programs or do you want to provide them with the health services that they may need? We should be investing in people, not prisons and while it’s five decades too late, it’s never too late to do the right thing. It’s time to end the Drug War.

Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI) conducted a nationally representative survey among 800 registered voters between
May 17- 20, 2021. 400 interviews were conducted via phone (40% cell) and 400 conducted online. Results were
weighted to be representative of the nation’s registered voters. While margin of error calculations do not apply to
non-random samples, the margin of error on a truly random sample of 800 is +/- 3.46 percentage points at the
95% confidence interval.

Kind Leaf is proud to help fund important treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services that benefit our local community.

Nevada Legalizes Cannabis Consumption Lounges, Oregon Will Eventually Follow Suit

Undoubtedly, cannabis legalization has been beneficial for the states that have ended Reefer Madness prohibition within their borders, creating jobs and generating revenue instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on futile arrests and jailings in an futile attempt to cancel Mary Jane. Tourism has been a big driver of the cannabis economy as connoisseurs living in prohibition states travel to purchase from state-regulated dispensaries. Look no further than the cannabis sales experienced in Eastern Oregon, as its an open secret that Idahoans are flocking into the Beaver State for “greener” pastures in search of what the ruling class in the Gem State may refer to as “The Devil’s Lettuce.” Nevada is doubling down on cannabis tourism, wisely placing a bet that tourism will be spurred in the state by legalizing cannabis consumption lounges.

This newfound freedom will definitely boost cannabis tourism in the Silver State, especially in Las Vegas, where you just know we will soon see a variety of toking-friendly establishments, some even staffed by the likes of circus performers and Elvis impersonators. I predict that this move by Nevada will also influence neighboring states like Oregon to also formally legalize cannabis cafes and other consumption-friendly establishments. (East Fork Cultivars’ Hemp Bar is a good start, but…) Recognizing the impact on Sin City, food and dining site Eater Vegas, covered the passage of Assembly Bill 341, which authorizes the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board to license and regulate cannabis consumption lounges:

“Nevada may soon have its first cannabis consumption lounges. The Nevada legislature passed a bill that allows two types of cannabis lounges during its 120-day session in Carson City. One type allows an existing dispensary to add a space for a lounge, with only one lounge allowed no matter how many locations a dispensary has. The other model permits independent businesses to build a consumption lounge with single-use cannabis products for sale.

“Since Nevada first legalized recreational marijuana dispensaries in 2017 in Nevada, many tourists have discovered that while they can purchase cannabis, they have nowhere to legally consume it unless they know someone who lives in Las Vegas. Cannabis products are not permitted inside casinos and hotels. While not legal in Nevada, tourists resort to consuming marijuana outdoors or in their hotel rooms.

“The first consumption lounges could open by the end of 2021. Starting July 1, dispensaries can start the application process for licensing with the Cannabis Compliance Board to open a consumption lounge.”

The Las Vegas Review Journal provided some insight into what these lounges may look like, with some fun possibilities:

“Some lounges will likely will have a bar-like set up, where customers 21 and older would be able to buy single-use or ready-to-consume marijuana products inside the lounge and consume it on-site.

“But there will be some flexibility for prospective owners who want to be creative with their lounge. Concepts like cafes with cannabis-infused products or marijuana-friendly yoga studios, comedy clubs and even massage parlors could be possible.”

Regulated cafes and other consumption-friendly businesses are needed in Oregon so everyone can have a safe place to enjoy legal cannabis. Not only should we capture the tourist dollars, but people that live in homes with restrictions on cannabis use, need a place to go. Nevada’s decision will soon reverberate across the country as voters, legislators, and policymakers see that the sky won’t fall and the dire predictions of naysayers, influenced by decades of Reefer Madness propaganda, will be proven false once again. Personally, I look forward to Kind Leaf and other great craft cannabis boutiques opening up a variety of cannabis establishments, even providing an opportunity for local entertainers to perform before an uplifted and euphoric crowd.

While Kind Leaf isn’t allowed to open a connected cannabis cafe just yet, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique does offer the best selection in the Great Northwest. Come on into the beautiful store or order online with Leafly.

From Cannabis to Psychedelics, Drug War Reformers Are on a Roll from Coast to Coast

Aided by winning most cannabis ballot initiative campaigns since 1996, the growing understanding that the War on Drugs has been an utter failure, and the hard work of dedicated activists across the country, drug war reformers have serious momentum from coast to coast. It’s easy to see a snowballing pattern of how victories for freedom and common sense chipped away at the Drug War, starting with medicinal cannabis to full legalization to medicinal psilocybin and drug decriminalization wins statewide in Oregon last year. Within the past week, the Texas Legislature has approved legislation to study psychedelics potential to treat military veterans’ PTSD, the California Senate has sent a psychedelics decriminalization bill to the General Assembly, and Connecticut legislators seem poised to pass a cannabis legalization bill that includes social equity provisions such as the automatic expungement of possession convictions. Gizmodo reported on the momentum in a column titled, “It’s a Good Week for Drugs”:

“(California) SB 519, which now moves to the House, acknowledges that the war on drugs hasn’t worked and that responsible regulation can help reduce harm, primarily to people who take tainted substances. ‘The War on Drugs has entailed overwhelming financial and societal costs, and the policy behind it does not reflect a modern understanding of substance use nor does it accurately reflect the potential therapeutic benefits or harms of various substances,’ the introduction to the bill reads. It goes on to say that people continue to use black market drugs, which have become less safe, particularly when laced with drugs like fentanyl, which caused a spike in overdoses during the pandemic. The state hopes that distributing drug analysis tools and scales can help reduce harm.

“It also notes that certain psychedelics have proven medicinal benefits, which is partly the reason that Oregon and Denver legalized psilocybin, the hallucinogen derived from mushrooms. Studies have shown that taking psilocybinMDMA, and ketamine, paired with psychotherapy, can help relieve major depressive disorder and PTSD. In the latter case, studies frequently state that pharmaceuticals aren’t enough.

***

“It is also a good week for therapeutic drugs in Texas, where two bills await Governor Abbot’s signature. One would expand access to medical weed, and another would mandate research on the effectiveness of MDMA, ketamine, and psilocybin in treating PTSD.”

As Gizmodo also notes, these most recent political victories also coincided with economic giant Amazon announcing that it now supports the the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), and will now stop testing most of its employees for cannabis. Not to mention the fact that Virginia and New York recently passed landmark cannabis legalization bills. The Drug War has gone on for so long and its failures have been so obvious to so many advocates, that it can be easy to get burned out. It’s a good idea to take a breath and realize how far that we’ve come and to acknowledge that hard work and dedication are paying off as the truth prevails step by step, state by state.

East Fork Cultivars’ Hemp Bar Should Pave the Way for Cannabis Cafes in Oregon

There are certainly many reasons to like legal cannabis in Oregon. For starters, thousands of people are no longer getting cited, arrested and jailed for cannabis and the Measure 91 legalization law set the stage for Measure 109 (medicinal psilocybin) and Measure 110 (drug decriminalization) to further improve our state’s drug laws. Oregon cultivators produce the best cannabis in the world, no offense to my California friends who love to rep the Golden State, but until you show me a better selection than Kind Leaf’s, I’m sticking by Oregon-grown sticky icky. We need to work on implementing more equity and social justice provisions such as automatically expunging old convictions and it’s a shame to see other states moving forward with cannabis cafes. Hardworking advocates are continually lobbying to improve the Beaver State’s cannabis laws and the good folks at East Fork Cultivars may have just jump started the movement to legalize cannabis cafes by opening the Hemp Bar. Willamette Week reported on last week’s grand opening:

“No, you’re still not able to smoke weed in public in Oregon. However, hemp—cannabis grown for fiber rather than its psychotropic qualities—enjoys a different, if still somewhat murky, legal distinction. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp production is federally legal. And since it contains less than 0.3% THC, it’s also legal to buy outside a licensed dispensary, and thus, consume out in the open.

“And so, that’s what you’ll be able get at Hemp Bar, which had its grand opening at 6258 SE Foster Rd. today: hemp pre-rolls, hemp blunts, CBD-infused mocktails and edibles, even dabs, all of it stocked by Southwest Oregon farm East Fork Cultivars and available for on-premises consumption.

“Of course, that raises the question: If the products have barely any THC, what’s even the point? But owner Nathan Howard insists that, depending on how much you ingest and the makeup of an individual’s endocannabinoid system, you can feel 0.3%.”

“That makes [Hemp Bar] essentially a weed cafe,” Howard told Willamette Week, “but we’re just not leading people to get too stoned.”

Other than the 0.3% THC limit, the Hemp Bar is modeled like cannabis cafes in Amsterdam and pretty much identical to many places in Switzerland, where THC is capped at 1%. Customers are free to imbibe infused drinks and light up hemp cigarettes at outdoor tables. There are non-infused mocktails available and vegan food options as well.

The great folks at East Fork Cultivars have always done things the right way, producing great products while advocating for sensible laws that uplift everyone and bring us closer to ending harmful drug laws. The Hemp Bar should show Oregonians, including legislators and policymakers, that cannabis cafes can be allowed, especially combined with cannabis cafes legal under the laws in California, Nevada, and New York. Step by step, we are making progress and I urge the cannabis community to support East Fork Cultivars and to check out the Hemp Bar when in Portland.

Kind Leaf is proud to carry East Fork Cultivars products and to maintain the best cannabis selection in Oregon.

California Senate Votes to Legalize Possession of Psychedelics, Psilocybin Cultivation

Oregon led the way passing medicinal psilocybin and drug decriminalization measures last year and our neighbor to the South has added to the momentum for sensible drug policy reform by sending a bill to the California General Assembly that legalizes the personal possession of psychedelics while also allowing for the cultivation and transportation of psilocybin. Senate Bill 519, sponsored by Senator Scott Weiner, passed 21-16 and is currently awaiting assignment to an Assembly committee. Most media outlets have characterized SB 519 as a decriminalization bill although it effectively legalizes personal use by fully removing the penalties for possession from the criminal code except that peyote and mescaline derived from peyote are not included due to their endangered status and spiritual significance to Native American communities.

Courthouse News reported:

“The War on Drugs has failed us, and criminalizing these substances doesn’t make anyone safer,” said state Senator Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco. “It’s time to move away from failed drug criminalization policies and toward a science- and health-based approach.”

A raft of scientific studies have shown psychedelics may prove useful in treating a gamut of mental health issues, including treatment-resistant depression, post traumatic stress disorder and addiction issues. 

“Psychedelics show great promise in helping people deal with complex trauma, depression, anxiety, and addiction,” Weiner said Monday. 

While the bill doesn’t legalize the production of any psychedelics outside of psilocybin and doesn’t allow for any sales, it does mandate that the California Department of Public Health create a work group to explore the possible full legalization of psychedelics in certain contexts. Additionally, the group Decriminalize California has announced plans to place an initiative on the 2022 ballot that would legalize the selling psilocybin mushrooms. While the fate of SB 519 is uncertain in the General Assembly, its passage in the California Senate is a great step forward. Depending upon what happens in the Golden State, we may need to revisit Oregon’s drug laws sooner rather than later and catch up to our neighbors.

Friendly reminder that you should always stop by Kind Leaf before your next trip!

Game Changer: Amazon Backs Legalization and Ends Most Cannabis Drug Testing

No matter your feelings about Amazon, and personally I try my best to support local businesses (just as Oregonians should support craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf), the company’s announcement that it supports legalization and will stop drug testing for cannabis is a HUGE development for our movement for freedom and equality. It’s often said that federal legalization is inevitable and I often don’t like using such definitive language because it implies that activists across the country don’t have to work as hard anymore. Well, we still have to work extremely hard to legalize “the right way” but Amazon jumping on the bandwagon certainly makes ending prohibition as inevitable as it ever has been.

In addition to Amazon’s lobbying influence to change the law, its decision to end drug testing for cannabis will inevitably resonate across different business sectors and we can expect more employers to follow suit. While this game changing announcement by Amazon adds to our political and cultural momentum, it actually makes it even more imperative that advocates double down on important social justice and equity provisions that clear records, open up job opportunities, and allow for small businesses to thrive. On one hand, it’s great to have a financial behemoth like Amazon on your side, but if they are gonna enter the industry, we can expect that they will be pushing for laws and regulations that benefit their bottom line.

Amazon made their new cannabis announcement within a message to their employees titled, “Update on our vision to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work“:

“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use. We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.

“And because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)—federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”

The online retailer’s decision to actively support the MORE Act, which includes restorative justice and equitable provisions that clear criminal records and invests in communities harmed by the Drug War, should add fuel to the fire of advocates working to implement legalization fairly, even in states like Oregon that have already ended prohibition within its borders. Eliminating stigmatizing convictions combined with crucial investments and ending cannabis drug testing are all important steps forward towards true freedom and equality for the cannabis community. We’ve taken another step forward in our political and cultural battle, but we can’t let up. Let’s legalize the right way, paving the way for economic opportunities for everyday Americans, and not just the Jeff Bezos of the world.

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