Had a great time talking with host Wayne Schwind, CEO of Periodic Edibles, on this week's Periodic Effects podcast. We covered a lot of ground, including the future of craft cannabis and the Oregon industry, the rescinding of the Cole Memo, and the path to federal legalization by 2021. Thanks so much to Wayne and his crew. Check it out!
Marijuana Today is a national podcast, but this week we focus a lot on Oregon, where we discuss the OLCC's Go-Legal campaign and the future of the Oregon cannabis industry. Also, a special segment with Adam and Kris Lotlikar on the occasion of the 1,000th weekly issue of the "Drug War Chronicle" (formerly The Week Online) the nation's first and longest-running drug policy reform publication, that Adam launched way back in 1997.
This week, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates cannabis, launches its "Go Legal" campaign with a series of videos featuring some of the industry's leading companies and entrepreneurs.
Twenty years ago, I wrote this piece as my Thanksgiving editorial for The Week Online, a publication that I launched, wrote, edited and published for its first 137 issues. It was the nation's first online news magazine covering domestic and international drug policy from a reform perspective. That publication, which was later re-named "The Drug War Chronicles" will soon publish it's 1,000th issue.
A lot has changed in drug policy since Thanksgiving 1997, but far too much has not. And today, under the current administration, we are threatening to reverse the important progress that has been made towards a more rational and humane approach toward drugs of all kinds. And so I leave this Thanksgiving editorial here as a reminder that while things have gotten better, the drug war, and the movement to end it, is far from over.
Giving Thanks in a Time of Drug War
- Adam J Smith, November 23, 1997
If neither you nor someone you love has had to decide between the relief of pain, the suppression of life-threatening nausea, or the loss of sight, and the prospect of risking arrest and conviction under state or federal marijuana laws, give thanks.
If neither you nor someone you love has had the experience of armed agents of the state kicking in your door, terrorizing your home's occupants and damaging your personal property, give thanks.
If neither you nor someone you love has contracted injection-related AIDS, or Hepatitis, because there was no legal source of clean needles for themselves or a present or past sexual partner or a parent, give thanks.
If neither you nor someone you love has been the victim of Prohibition-related violence or crime, give thanks.
If neither your child nor another child that you love has been lured by the siren song of the black market, or by gangs, or been shot at by a law enforcement agent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (and for being the wrong color), or been saddled with a life-long criminal record for youthful experimentation, or been banished from school for possession of an aspirin, or been tried in court as an adult, give thanks.
If neither you nor someone you love has had property taken by the state without so much as being charged with an offense, give thanks.
If neither you nor someone you love has had to suffer the indignity of urinating in a cup, on demand, for theprivilege of maintaining menial employment, give thanks.
If neither you nor someone you love has sought drug treatment and found that it was unavailable to those ofmodest means save through the processes of the criminal justice system, give thanks.
If you and everyone that you love can go through this list and be thankful for each and every entry, know that you are among a shrinking group of Americans who have managed to avoid some of the most common consequences of the War on Drugs.
But know too, that your tax dollars, in ever-increasing amounts, are helping to make the number of citizens like you smaller each year.
So give thanks. But remember too that there is work to be done. Happy Thanksgiving.
One of the things that gives me the most confidence in the success of the Oregon craft cannabis movement, and the Alliance, is the participation of so many brilliant and talented women. Kate Guptill of Eco Firma Farms is all of that and more.
"The plants don’t care I’m female, and neither do the people who enjoy Eco Firma's products. Yes, by the numbers, it is a male dominated industry, but it’s not male dominated in Oregon. Some of the most influential people in the Oregon industry are women. On the whole, we are a new industry—there’s opportunity for women to have a dominating presence."
This week, the Canna Law Blog reports that Craft Cannabis Alliance members East Fork Cultivars and Medicinal Roots played leading roles over the past several weeks in a successful effort to halt proposed regulations that would have shut down fully licensed and compliant producers operating on land zoned Rural Residential.
The Craft Cannabis Alliance is a values-driven industry association whose mission is to define, promote, and celebrate authentic Oregon craft cannabis. Though it has only recently launched, it already counts many of Oregon’s most important local brands among its members, and looks poised to help lead a craft cannabis movement both within the industry and among consumers.
Independent craft breweries have flourished in recent decades, as the market share for craft beer has grown by more than 300% since 2009. But recently, international beverage giants like In-Bev Anheuser Busch, makers of Budweiser, and Constellation Brands, makers of Corona, have begun acquiring a stable of well-known, formerly independent craft brands like Ballast Point, 10 Barrel, and Goose Hollow. Armed with a portfolio of formerly craft names (the Brewers Association calls them “crafty”), and backed by the enormous marketing budgets and powerful distribution networks, the conglomerates have begun pushing truly independent brands off of hard-won shelf space, threatening independent brewers’ access to markets and limiting, once again, consumer choice.
It is no secret that the recommendations of the DoJ's Task Force on Crime Reduction, due on Attorney General Sessions' desk by July 27th, were slated to address potential Federal responses to state-legal adult use cannabis markets. And it is no secret that AG Sessions would very much like to drag the 8 states with legal markets, and the 20% of the US population living in those states, back into the dark days of Prohibition. What IS a secret, apparently, are the recommendations themselves. But it is vital that the legal industry, and the state governments overseeing that industry, are prepared to defend those legal markets and those participating in them from any federal effort to subvert them. Yesterday, US Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon called on Sessions to make the recommendations public. Thank you, Senator, for standing up on this. Senator Wyden's press release below:
The Senate Appropriations Committee struck a blow yesterday for medical cannabis patients and those who serve them when they voted to extend the Rohrbacher-Farr amendment. The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, forbids the Department of Justice and their "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions from spending resources to prosecute MMJ providers operating under color of state law. Sessions, who lobbied both publicly and privately for authority to do so, is not having a good week.