Category: Current Events

“A Compassionate Approach to Ending the War on Drugs” Panel this Wednesday

The harms of the Drug War are legion. Most importantly, too many lives have been lost and ruined while civil rights have eroded and tax dollars have been wasted. Nations have even been destabilized and the harmful consequences of the Drug War impact virtually all facets of our lives. Thanks to the work of dedicated advocates over many decades, we have been chipping away at this failed war, starting with legalizing cannabis across the United States, whether for medical reasons, or for personal use by adults.

Thanks to the cannabis community’s victories taking place city by city and state by state, we are now seeing momentum in the Halls of Congress. We have even seeing electoral success tackling other aspects of the Drug War, from reducing criminal penalties at the legislative level, to passing several local city measures, and even decriminalizing the personal possession of all drugs in the great state of Oregon. I was honored and humbled to serve as a chief petitioner of Measure 110, Oregon’s decriminalization measure, and the Measure 91 cannabis legalization initiative and I am so pleased to be joining a the Portland Psychedelic Society’s “A Compassionate Approach to Ending the War on Drugs” panel this Wednesday, December 16th, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The event is free, just RSVP with Eventbrite.

I will be joining Diane Goldstein, Executive Board Chair of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)(formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition); Sanho Tree, the Project Director of the Drug Policy – Institute of Policy Studies; and Abhi Dewan, the Student and Federal Liaison for the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). We will be discussing the history and evolution of America’s drug laws towards certain psychoactive substances, the enforcement and impact on society due to the Drug War, and the important efforts being made to put an end to these harmful policies. This is an exciting time for drug policy reformers. Join us.

A Supermajority of Americans Support Expunging Cannabis Convictions

I’ve seen past internal campaign polling showing that a lot of voters weren’t too high on expunging old cannabis convictions, even though a strong majority supported legalization. The dichotomy always seemed really strange to me and it didn’t make sense. I’ve also been proud to work on successfully passing bipartisan expungement legislation in Oregon, without many voters expressing outrage or punishing the politicians leading the legislative work. Now, just after Gallup’s poll showing that an all-time record of 68% of American voters support ending cannabis prohibition, a supermajority now favor expunging old, outdated and harmful convictions, as Marijuana Moment reported:

The YouGov survey, which was released on Tuesday and involved 7,141 participants, asked whether U.S. adults “support or oppose expunging marijuana-related convictions for non-violent offenders?”

Seventy percent of respondents said they favor the policy, with 46 percent strongly supporting it. There was majority back among every demographic surveyed, including political ideologies, regions of the U.S., age, gender and income level.

Eighty-one percent of Democrats back expungements, compared to 57 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of independents.

It is great to see voters coming around on expunging old cannabis convictions with supermajority support. Ending the Drug War includes doing what we can to eliminate past harms. Getting rid of a scarlet letter that prevents job and housing opportunities while increasing unneeded stigma, is one step in our journey towards true freedom.

New Poll: Voters Prefer Candidates that Support Cannabis Legalization

The passage of the MORE Act, the historic bill that would end federal cannabis prohibition, was a major milestone for the cannabis community, and it fulfilled a campaign promise by United States House of Representatives leadership. However, a new poll out finds that House leaders made a mistake of postponing a vote on the measure until after the November general election. While political opponents have criticized MORE Act supporters for passing the bill while the nation faces so many serious issues related to the COVID pandemic, polling shows that, SURPRISE, voters prefer candidates that support issues with strong majority support, such as cannabis legalization.

Marijuana Moment reported on the poll commissioned by Data For Progress, Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement and New Deal Strategies. The survey questioned 1,375 likely voters in 13 congressional swing districts:

Asked whether they support legalizing cannabis for adult use, 57 percent of respondents in the swing districts said they did. That includes 71 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents and 38 percent of Republicans.

What’s more, “marijuana legalization—a major progressive proposal—appears to additionally be a popular persuasion policy for independent voters” whose support could make or break tight races. And while only just over one-third of Republican voters said they favor the policy change in this survey, that is still an important figure, the groups said.

“This significant and growing support for marijuana legalization across party lines demonstrates clear potential for the Democratic Party to capitalize on the popularity of marijuana legalization as a key part of their policy agenda,” they wrote said.

Let this be a lesson to politicians. Cannabis legalization is a winning issue. Do not be afraid of supporting a policy that has strong majority support across our nation. The upcoming Georgia special election determining control of the U.S. Senate will be a decent test of this theory with Democrats Reverend Ralph Warnock and Joel Ossoff supporting legalization while Republican Kelly Loeffler has criticized the the MORE Act and her fellow Republican Senator David Perdue hasn’t supported legalization either. With the GOP’s Mitch McConnell blocking cannabis legalization legislation as Senate President, based upon polling the Democrats would be wise to highlight the need to end prohibition, while the Georgia Republican Senators should rethink their support of the failed, harmful, and unpopular policy of prohibition.

The Cannabis Community Is on Fire: United States House Passes Cannabis Research Legislation

The hits keep coming for the cannabis community as our hot streak continues in the political realm. Fresh off the heels of the passage of the historic MORE Act to end federal prohibition, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a research bill today on a voice vote.  House Resolution 3797: The Marijuana Research Act, facilitates research by establishing a process so that allows scientists to access cannabis flower and other products manufactured in accordance with state-regulated programs.

As Marijuana Moment reported, the research bill had the backing of cannabis law reform leader Earl Blumenauer and prohibitionist Andy Harris:

“The cannabis laws in this country are broken, especially those that deal with research,” Blumenauer said on the House floor prior to the vote. “It’s a narrow bill that fixes one of many broken cannabis laws. And I want to hasten to add that this in no way negates the need to move forward with other areas of legalization… But this is sort of a foundational question. No matter where you are, there’s no reason the federal government should impede this critical research.”

Harris, for his part, pointed out that he and Blumenauer probably disagree more vigorously with one another about marijuana legalization than any two other members of Congress. But “we agree 100 percent that we need to do this research,” he said.

“Now, unfortunately, because of the public policy we’ve had in place with marijuana and its scheduling, [research] simply couldn’t be done,” Harris, who is a medical doctor, said. “You can’t do it under the current scheduling… This is on us. It shouldn’t have taken so long to get to this point.”

As NORML’s Paul Armentano wrote previously in The Hill, the DEA has stifled research on a number of fronts:

It’s been nearly three years since the Drug Enforcement Administration formally announced plans to facilitate FDA-approved marijuana-related research in the United States. Unfortunately, in the 36 months since then, the agency has woefully failed to follow through on their pledge.

***

Moreover, U-Miss’s “research-grade” marijuana is only available to scientists in the form in rolled cigarettes. Marijuana-infused oils, edibles and capsules — items that are now commonplace in both medical and adult-use states — are not available to investigators absent explicit permission from the DEA to import such products from countries outside of the United States.

Scientists wishing to better study the effects cannabis plant in controlled human trials have long been aware of these onerous hurdles, which often discourage many investigators from engaging in such activities.

Like the MORE Act, this research bill faces an uncertain future with the Mitch McConnell-led Senate. However, unlike the MORE Act, this legislation was passed in a bipartisan manner, elevating hopes that McConnell will allow it to proceed. Whether HR 3797 ultimately passes this year or not, its future, and the future of the cannabis community is certainly very bright. Let’s keep the fire going.

Make Your Christmas Tree the Dankest with Custom Kind Leaf Ornaments by JJ and Co

Yes, Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton, Oregon, has the biggest and best selection of cannabis flower and products in Oregon, if not the entire Great Northwest. Thankfully, they employ a friendly, knowledgeable staff that can answer all of your questions to help you find what you need, either for yourself, or for the cannabis connoisseur on your shopping list. However, in addition to cannabis, Kind Leaf carries many other locally-made items that can light up the life of anyone, whether they are a regular member of the cannabis community or not. This December, make your Christmas Tree the dankest of them all, or stock the stuffing of a loved one, with a custom Kind Leaf ornament, made locally by JJ and Co.

When you venture into Kind Leaf, you’ll definitely notice the amazing cannabis selection, but you’ll also see cool wooden signs made by JJ and Co, a mom-and-pop home decor store in Pendleton. When you venture into other area businesses, you likely see a lot of JJ and Co’s handiwork as they have proven to provide excellent products and service for both home and business decor. JJ and Co also make stickers and you can order all kinds of custom-made products directly from them, to provide the perfect gift for your perfect someone. Of the ornaments available at Kind Leaf, I think that I’m gonna have to pick up a Sasquatch one, actually probably a few, so I can keep one for myself and gift a couple.

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to bring home the importance of supporting local businesses, but the COVID economy has brought the importance of shopping at small businesses to the forefront. When you shop at Kind Leaf, you know that your hard-earned dollars are staying in Oregon and that they do all that they can to assist other local businesses as much as possible. From the Kind Leaf Tree program that benefits families in need, to partnering with businesses like JJ and Co, I’m proud of Kind Leaf for doing its part. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas everybody!

You can peruse Kind Leaf’s menu online at Leafly and don’t forget about the discounts given to veterans, OMMP patients, senior citizens, and for utilizing the pick-up window. #BeKind

Thank You, Clifford Robinson! The NBA Great Paved the Way on Cannabis Policy

The cannabis community is on a hot streak. On fire. En fuego. Since November 3rd, Montana, Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota voted to legalize, Mississippi and South Dakota passed medical measures, support for legalization hit an all-time high, the United Nations moved to reschedule cannabis and the United States House of Representatives passed the MORE Act to end federal cannabis prohibition. In addition to the political victories, the National Basketball Association announced that it would not be testing its players for cannabis during the next 2020-2021 season, a move that might be permanent. In every major political and cultural victory, we stand upon the shoulders of giants. With the NBA’s recent policy change, today’s ballers stand upon the shoulders of a literal giant, the 6′ 10″ Clifford Robinson, the late, great “Original Stretch Four” who had his best seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement.

Marijuana Moment noted that there is a lot of movement around making the cannabis testing policy permanent:

Michele Roberts, the head of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) who also joined the board of the major cannabis company Cresco Labs this year, predicted in a recent interview that the formal change could come as early as “next season.”

“We’re not going to expose our players to unnecessary risks,” she told Dowsett in a piece for GQ. “And it is not necessary to know whether our players are positive for marijuana.”

Robinson, known affectionately as Uncle Cliffy during his playing days or Uncle Spliffy during his cannabis activism day, paid the price of the war on cannabis, suffering through unfair arrests and prosecutions, hurting his playing career and corresponding financial opportunities. Better late than never, Cliffy lived long enough to receive a public apology this year from Portland’s mayor for the SWAT-like raid launched against him over a decriminalized, personal amount of cannabis back in 1997.

In recent years, Robinson made it his mission to end cannabis prohibition, doing a lot of work behind the scenes to encourage former athletes to join him in using their platforms to promote positive change. Unfortunately, the former Blazer great passed away from lymphoma before he could see the NBA announce its policy change, but Uncle Cliffy’s legacy lives on. Wherever he is, I know that the Big Fella is flashing that big smile. Please help his legacy live on by fighting for freedom and equality for the cannabis community and if you are able, make a donation in Robinson’s honor to help the fight against cancer.

HISTORIC: United States House Votes to End Federal Cannabis Prohibition

The fight to end cannabis prohibition has been a state by state battle, with advocates even turning towards local decriminalization or even “lowest law enforcement priority” measures over the past several decades. Starting with Oregon decriminalizing personal amounts back in 1973, the cannabis reform movement was jump started by California legalizing medicinal use in 1998, and then the dam really started to break when Colorado and Washington legalized adult use in 2012, and now, we have FINALLY garnered a positive vote to end prohibition at the federal level.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed 228 to 164 today along a mostly party line vote, with five Republicans joining the right side of history and six Democrats clinging to the failed policy of prohibition. Even though the MORE Act is unlikely to pass the Mitch McConnell-controlled Senate during this lame duck 2020 session, a few Senate seats changing hands in the next couple of years, could pave the way in that chamber. And with the next Vice President a co-sponsor, it seems like passage in the near future is within our grasp.

Cannabis community, today is a day for celebration. The People’s House has finally voted along with the will of the people. We are the supermajority and we have taken the next steps towards achieving freedom and equality across our nation. This is a joyous milestone and a great achievement for everyone that has been working to reform our unjust cannabis laws. Soon, it’s back to work.

Oregon’s Representative Earl Blumenauer deserves about as much credit as anyone for the passage of the MORE Act, and he released this statement following its passage:

House Passes Historic Cannabis Reform Legislation

The MORE Act would end the failed federal cannabis prohibition and ensure restorative justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation supported by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to end the federal prohibition of cannabis and ensure restorative justice for those impacted by it. 

Although cannabis will soon be legal in 15 states for adult use and in 36 states for medical use, it remains criminalized at the federal level, destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and wasting billions of dollars on the selective enforcement of an outdated and harmful system. Today’s historic vote – the bill passed the House 228 – 164 – marked the first time a full chamber of Congress voted to end this prohibition.

“I have worked on this issue for 47 years,” Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said on the House floor on Friday, prior to the final vote. “We’re here because we have failed three generations of Black and Brown young people, whose lives can be ruined, or lost, by selective enforcement of these laws. This legislation will end that disaster. It’s time for Congress to step up and do its part. We need to catch up with the rest of the American people.”

The continued enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws results in over 600,000 arrests annually, disproportionately impacting people of color who are almost four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than their white counterparts, despite equal rates of use across populations. Too often, cases of low-level cannabis possession escalate to police violence. For many, the selective enforcement of cannabis prohibition becomes a matter of life and death.  
 

People of color have also been historically targeted by discriminatory prosecution and sentencing practices. Black men receive drug sentences that are 13.1 percent longer than sentences imposed for white men. Latinos are nearly 6.5 times more likely to receive a federal sentence for cannabis possession than non-Hispanic whites. Once released, people of color often continue to be robbed of their dignity, as having a felony conviction can impact the ability to get an education, secure gainful employment, or vote.

The MORE Act centers racial justice by decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level and enacting other policies, including:  

  • Expungement and resentencing: Requires federal courts to expunge marijuana arrests and convictions and resentence those still in custody or under court supervision for a marijuana offense, pursuant to a judicial review process. 
  • Immigration reform: In 2013, simple cannabis possession was the fourth most common cause of deportation for any offense and the most common cause of deportation for drug law violations. The MORE Act ensures that marijuana is no longer considered a controlled substance for purposes of the immigration laws—and does so retroactively. 
  • Non-discrimination protections: Provides non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense. 
  • Juvenile protection: Ensures that all benefits in the law are available to juveniles arrested and convicted. 

The MORE Act also centers economic justice by ensuring that people of color are not shut out of the emerging regulated cannabis marketplace and reinvesting in communities most impacted by prohibition.

Legal cannabis sales totaled $9.5 billion in 2017 and are projected to reach $23 billion by 2022. However, fewer than one-fifth of cannabis business owners identify as minorities and only approximately four percent are Black. One reason for this gap is the historically disproportionate arrest and conviction rates that make it particularly difficult for people of color to enter the legal cannabis marketplace. 

In order to address inequalities in the legal cannabis marketplace and ensure equal participation in the industry, the MORE Act supports:  

  • Restorative Justice Programs: Authorizes the assessment of a five percent excise tax on sales of marijuana and marijuana products to fund programs like reentry services and substance use treatment. 
  • Equitable Business Access: Fund programs to open up opportunities for loans to small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and for states to implement equitable cannabis licensing programs. The MORE Act also requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure equitable participation. 
  • Small Business Support: Currently, federal law severely limits access to loans and capital for cannabis businesses, disproportionately impacting minority small business owners. The MORE Act would open Small Business Administration resources for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers. 

The full text of the legislation (H.R.3884) is available here

Video of Blumenauer speaking on the House floor earlier today about the MORE Act can be found here.

###

I was so happy to receive this kind, thoughtful email that Representative Blumenauer sent to Oregon cannabis law reform advocates:

Dear friends, 

Having just stepped off the floor of the House after voting for, and then witnessing the passage of the MORE Act, I wanted to express how much I appreciate your long-standing support and partnership. This was a truly historic vote and one that builds further momentum for our shared goal: federal legalization of cannabis. 

Yesterday, as I presided over the debate on this bill, I couldn’t help but recall the many conversations, conference calls, roundtable meetings—and yes, Zoom calls—I’ve had with Oregon’s cannabis community. Going all the way back to 2014 when Oregonians voted to legalize adult-use, and even in decades before then, you’ve provided me with thoughtful, pragmatic, and expert guidance. 

We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. It’s an important step towards rationalizing the policy. And while it’s a moment to celebrate, there is still more work to do. I look forward to continuing our partnership in the months ahead as a new session of Congress gets underway and we successfully eliminate the federal laws that restrict cannabis. 

But for right now, I just wanted to say thank you for your generous support and engagement in this fight. I deeply appreciate it. 

Courage, 

Earl  

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer Comments on Congressional Cannabis Legalization Vote

The United States House of Representatives debated the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act today and tomorrow a historic vote to end federal cannabis prohibition is expected. Portland, Oregon’s very own Earl Blumenauer presided over today’s proceedings, wearing a facemask adorned with cannabis leaves. Congressman Blumenauer stated that he has been waiting on this moment in Congress for 47 years as he was a young legislator voting to help make Oregon the first state to decriminalize cannabis all the way back in 1973.

No matter where you stand on his other politics, Representative Blumenauer has been a great leader on cannabis issues. He has worked across the aisle with Republicans and has joined forces with conservative and libertarian activists when they could join forces to push for much-needed reforms like banking access and an end to the 280e tax code that severely hinders cannabis businesses.

As a political realist, I understand that passage of the MORE Act won’t happen in the Senate this year and it faces an uphill battle unless Senate leadership changes. However, as an advocate with more than two decades of experience fighting to legalize cannabis and end the failed and racist Drug War, I cannot be overjoyed by the prospect of the United States House of Representatives voting to end cannabis prohibition. I’m crossing my fingers for a strong vote tomorrow and my heart is full of gratitude for everyone that has put in any work to end the war being waged upon the cannabis community.

Representative Earl Blumenauer’s full press release today:

House to Vote on Historic Cannabis Reform Legislation

The MORE Act would end the failed federal cannabis prohibition and ensure restorative justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation supported by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to end the federal prohibition of cannabis and ensure restorative justice for those impacted by it. 

Although cannabis will soon be legal in 15 states for adult use and in 36 states for medical use, it remains criminalized at the federal level, destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and wasting billions of dollars on the selective enforcement of an outdated and harmful system. The historic vote on Friday marks the first time a full chamber of Congress will vote to end this prohibition.

“I have been waiting for this historic moment for a long time. It is happening today because it has been demanded by the voters, by facts, and by the momentum behind this issue. This is an opportunity to strike a blow against the failed war on drugs, that has literally destroyed hundreds of thousands of young Black lives,” Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said on the House floor. “We are still arresting or citing 600,000 people a year for something that the majority of Americans now think should be legal. That’s why the voters in this country took it into their own hands. That is why today, 99 percent of the American population has some access to legalized cannabis. The MORE Act will help us set up a system moving forward.”

The continued enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws results in over 600,000 arrests annually, disproportionately impacting people of color who are almost four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than their white counterparts, despite equal rates of use across populations. Too often, cases of low-level cannabis possession escalate to police violence. For many, the selective enforcement of cannabis prohibition becomes a matter of life and death.  
 

People of color have also been historically targeted by discriminatory prosecution and sentencing practices. Black men receive drug sentences that are 13.1 percent longer than sentences imposed for white men. Latinos are nearly 6.5 times more likely to receive a federal sentence for cannabis possession than non-Hispanic whites. Once released, people of color often continue to be robbed of their dignity, as having a felony conviction can impact the ability to get an education, secure gainful employment, or vote.

The MORE Act centers racial justice by decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level and enacting other policies, including:  

  • Expungement and resentencing: Requires federal courts to expunge marijuana arrests and convictions and resentence those still in custody or under court supervision for a marijuana offense, pursuant to a judicial review process. 
  • Immigration reform: In 2013, simple cannabis possession was the fourth most common cause of deportation for any offense and the most common cause of deportation for drug law violations. The MORE Act ensures that marijuana is no longer considered a controlled substance for purposes of the immigration laws—and does so retroactively. 
  • Non-discrimination protections: Provides non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense. 
  • Juvenile protection: Ensures that all benefits in the law are available to juveniles arrested and convicted. 

The MORE Act also centers economic justice by ensuring that people of color are not shut out of the emerging regulated cannabis marketplace and reinvesting in communities most impacted by prohibition.

Legal cannabis sales totaled $9.5 billion in 2017 and are projected to reach $23 billion by 2022. However, fewer than one-fifth of cannabis business owners identify as minorities and only approximately four percent are Black. One reason for this gap is the historically disproportionate arrest and conviction rates that make it particularly difficult for people of color to enter the legal cannabis marketplace. 

In order to address inequalities in the legal cannabis marketplace and ensure equal participation in the industry, the MORE Act supports:  

  • Restorative Justice Programs: Authorizes the assessment of a five percent excise tax on sales of marijuana and marijuana products to fund programs like reentry services and substance use treatment. 
  • Equitable Business Access: Fund programs to open up opportunities for loans to small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and for states to implement equitable cannabis licensing programs. The MORE Act also requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure equitable participation. 
  • Small Business Support: Currently, federal law severely limits access to loans and capital for cannabis businesses, disproportionately impacting minority small business owners. The MORE Act would open Small Business Administration resources for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers. 

A full vote on the MORE Act is expected Friday, December 4.

The full text of the legislation (H.R.3884) is available here

Featured photo credit: Earl Blumenauer’s Facebook page.

HUGE International News: The United Nations Reclassifies Cannabis

There are a lot of nonsensical aspects of the War on Drugs, from civil forfeiture laws to the arbitrary taxation of cannabis businesses. One of the most ridiculous components of the Drug War has been government bodies categorizing cannabis alongside lethal drugs like heroin. Finally, cannabis will no longer be considered one of the most dangerous drugs, at least under new United Nations guidelines. Probably most important is the fact that he new scheduling of cannabis had the approval of the United States.

The New York Times covered the historic vote by the UN Commission for Narcotic Drugs. Members voted 27-25 to remove medical cannabis from the most restrictive category of the world’s most dangerous drugs. While not binding, advocates hope that this vote proves to be a watershed moment, helping pave the way for an expansion of cannabis research and reforms:

Experts say that the vote will have no immediate impact on loosening international controls because governments will still have jurisdiction over how to classify cannabis. But many countries look to global conventions for guidance, and United Nations recognition is a symbolic win for advocates of drug policy change who say that international law is out of date.

“This is a huge, historic victory for us, we couldn’t hope for more,” said Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an independent researcher for drug policy who has closely monitored the vote and the position of member states. He said that cannabis had been used throughout history for medicinal purposes and that the decision on Wednesday reinstated that status.

***

Michael Krawitz, executive director for Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, an advocacy group in the United States, said the change in international law would “help reduce the suffering millions of people” and could help mitigate reliance on opiates, noting that cannabis was an important medication that could provide unique pain relief.

It is so heartening to see major progress towards ending cannabis prohibition all around the globe. With over 2/3 of American voters wanting to end the federal war on cannabis, hopefully this UN reclassification will spur Congress to act and remove cannabis away from the Schedule I controlled substances category which ridiculously claims that cannabis has no medicinal value. Step by step, state by state, government body by government body, freedom and common sense are on the march across the globe.

Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board Now Taking Applications

Oregon’s cannabis community set the stage for our great state to take the lead on eliminating the harms of the Drug War by laying the foundation for change decades ago. Oregon has either been first, or among the first states to pass a few important drug policy reforms, dating all the way back to 1973, when the Beaver State was the first to decriminalize personal amounts of cannabis. Fast forward to 2020, and not only has Oregon legalized cannabis, but has become the first state to vote to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs and legalize psilocybin treatment.

The monumental mushroom measure, Measure 109, won with a strong majority at the ballot box with a smart campaign that educated voters with research and moving testimonials, especially from veterans that have been helped by psilocybin. Additionally, 109 called for a deliberate approach where the Oregon Health Authority would have a full two years to develop regulations for the licensed psilocybin system where adults can seek supervised treatment from trained facilitators.

The Oregon Health Authority has started accepting applications. Marijuana Moment caught up with Measure 109 campaign manager Sam Chapman, who I am proud to call a friend and colleague: “This is the beginning of the two-year process to ensure that Oregon creates a safe, effective and equitable psilocybin therapy program that effectively addresses the needs of Oregonians who are suffering from depression and anxiety. I look forward to working with the governor, legislature and the Oregon Health Authority to ensure that the therapy is affordable and that those who need it have access.”

If you have what the Oregon Health Authority is looking for, I urge you to apply. It is important that our state regulators have input from everyday Oregonians. Today is another day that I’m reminded that I am so fortunate to live in Oregon.

From OHA’s website:

November 30, 2020

The Office of Governor Brown is seeking applicants for the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Established by Ballot Measure 109 (2020), the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board makes recommendations to the Oregon Health Authority on available scientific studies and research on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating mental health conditions, and makes recommendations on the requirements, specifications and guidelines for providing psilocybin services in Oregon.

OHA invites applications from people who meet the following criteria:

  • Local health officer.
  • Representative of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • Member of the OHA Addictions and Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council.
  • Member of the OHA Health Equity Policy Committee.
  • Member of the OHA Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council.
  • Individual who represents individuals who provide public health services.
  • Psychologist licensed under ORS chapter 675 who has professional experience engaging in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental, emotional, or behavioral condition.
  • Physician licensed under ORS chapter 677 who holds a degree of Doctor of Medicine.
  • Naturopathic physician licensed under ORS chapter 685.
  • Expert in the field of public health who has a background in academia.
  • Person who has professional experience conducting scientific research regarding the use of psychedelic compounds in clinical therapy.
  • Person who has experience in the field of mycology.
  • Person who has experience in the field of ethnobotany.
  • Person who has experience in the field of psychopharmacology.
  • Person who has experience in the field of psilocybin harm reduction.
  • Person representing the Oregon Liquor Control Commission who has experience working with the system developed and maintained by the commission under ORS 475B.177 for tracking the transfer of marijuana items.
  • Person representing the Oregon Department of Justice.
  • Member of the public.

To apply, submit the following documentation to executive.appointments@oregon.gov by Jan. 1, 2021:

  1. A completed executive appointment interest form, which is available on the Governor’s office website.
  2. A resume or brief biographical sketch.
  3. A brief statement of interest.

For more information, email oha.psilocybin@dhsoha.state.or.us or contact André Ourso, OHA Public Health Division, at 971-673-0404.

# # #