Category: Uncategorized

Oregon Cannabis Community, Send a Message Supporting the Cannabis Equity Act

Legalizing cannabis in Oregon has resulted in many positive developments. Thousands of jobs have been created and millions in revenue have been added to the state’s budget thanks to the nascent billion dollar industry. Criminal penalties have been drastically reduced, arrests have plummeted, and some convictions have been cleared from records. The passage of Measure 91 helped build the foundation to pass Measure 109 to legalize medical psilocybin therapy and Measure 110 to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs while allocating more than $100 million a year more for drug treatment, harm reduction, and recovery programs. However, there is much more work to be done. Previous marijuana criminal offenses need to be expunged automatically, regardless of the ability to pay court fees, and the industry hasn’t sufficiently uplifted the communities most harmed by the Drug War. The Cannabis Equity Act, House Bill 3112, is a great opportunity to bring more justice to our criminal justice system by automatically expunging old cannabis convictions while expanding economic opportunities across demographics by allowing cannabis cafes, and implementing equity provisions. Thanks to the Cannabis Equity PAC, Oregonians can easily send a message to legislators supporting HB 3112 that reads, in part:

Cannabis legalization has led to an influx of tax revenues far beyond what was ever imagined when cannabis was legalized in 2014. With significantly increased cannabis tax revenues and with our Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities at their most economically vulnerable following 2020, now is the time to invest in equity and economic repair for Black, Indigenous and Latinx people with the passage of HB 3112.

HB 3112 would allow for the direct investment of a portion of our cannabis tax revenues for housing, health care, and educational needs into these communities as we commit to restoring essential rights and privileges to those who have been stripped of them simply due to cannabis criminalization.

HB 3112 would provide an automatic and free path to expungement for some 28,000 Oregonians allowing them access to loans, better opportunities for jobs and an ability to begin building the generational wealth that has been denied them.

Please take a moment to send a letter to the Oregon House Judiciary Committee. The Oregon Cannabis PAC has made it super easy and quick, you can make your voice heard in under a minute. The bill is set for a work session on Thursday, April 8th, and could get passed out of committee. Regardless of whether the Cannabis Equity Act passes this session or not, it’s important to demonstrate as much support as possible and to continue to build upon the foundation that hard-working advocates have put into bringing more fairness to our system. A sincere thanks to everyone making their voices heard.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Carl Sagan’s Best Friend and Cannabis Community Giant, Passes Away at 92

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School has been one of the most important voices in the cannabis community, helping speak truth to power, passed away this morning, the morning after celebrating his 92nd birthday. Grinspoon’s status as a Harvard professor and his friendship with renowned scientist Carl Sagan were instrumental in dispelling common cannabis myths and stereotypes.

Dr. Grinspoon’s 1971 book, Marihuana Reconsidered, about the real effects of cannabis and its place in society was a landmark publication for the movement to reform our nation’s unjust laws. Just two years later, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize personal use, kicking off a wave of decriminalization laws across the nation and laying the foundation of our fight for freedom and science that still continues to this day.

Lester Grinspoon’s son, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, who has followed in his father’s path in promoting science and truth, posted about his father’s passing on Twitter:

Vice Magazine profiled Grinspoon’s relationship with the late, great Carl Sagan, and cannabis, back in 2013:

Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s interest in marijuana dates back to 1967, the year he decided to research the subject sufficiently enough to convince his best friend—who just happened to be Carl Sagan—and a few other associates to stop smoking the stuff. While the internationally renowned astronomer never publicly acknowledged his use of cannabis, the bestselling author and host of “Cosmos” did partake frequently and enthusiastically in private, invariably encouraging his straight-laced companion Lester to join in.

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Four years later, despite facing pressure at Harvard not to touch the subject, Grinspoon published Marihuana Reconsidered (1971) to document his findings. The bestselling book described, among other things, a decades-long government propaganda campaign undertaken to keep marijuana illegal at all costs.

In addition to an authoritative, scientific refutation of the many myths then commonly accepted about cannabis, the book included an essay from a man in his mid-30s identified only as Mr. X. Writing under a pseudonym, Carl Sagan explained that his support for ending marijuana prohibition was not just political, but also deeply personal:

I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs. The heightened sensitivity in all areas gives me a feeling of communion with my surroundings, both animate and inanimate. Sometimes a kind of existential perception of the absurd comes over me and I see with awful certainty the hypocrises and posturing of myself and my fellow men. And at other times, there is a different sense of the absurd, a playful and whimsical awareness. Both of these senses of the absurd can be communicated, and some of the most rewarding highs I’ve had have been in sharing talk and perceptions and humor. Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook and forget and put out of our minds.

Everyone working to end cannabis prohibition today stands upon the shoulders of giants who sacrificed so much before us. Dr. Lester Grinspoon is one of those giants. All of us enjoying more freedom today owe him a bit of gratitude. May the legendary giant rest in power.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful sentiment posted by his son. It brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.