Search Results for: Americans for Safe Access

Join Americans For Safe Access At California Summer Lobby Day

CALIFORNIA: If you are in California and want to help promote safe access to cannabis, check out the message that I received below:

We need more than one hundred people at the State Capitol in thirteen days to talk to lawmakers and staff face-to-face about medical cannabis. Will you be there?

Register right now for the California Summer Lobby Day in Sacramento on Monday, August 12, and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will make an appointment for you to see your Assemblymember that day. The registration fee is only $25 and includes breakfast, a legislative briefing, professional lobby training, printed materials for your visit, and a very special VIP reception with elected officials that night!

Your Assemblymember needs to hear from you on August 12, because an important bill hangs in the balance the very next day. SB 439, authored by Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), will create a uniform statewide standard for medical cannabis patients’ collectives and protect their staff from wrongful prosecution. The bill must pass the Assembly Health Committee the day after our lobby day.

Medical cannabis opponents will be trying hard to defeat the bill or to add “poison pill” amendments. We need to show some grassroots muscle on Monday, August 12, so that lawmakers know there is support in their home Districts for a sensible medical cannabis policy. Otherwise, the bill may die or be gutted by our opponents.

 

Kaine Introduces Bill To Allow Veterans To Access Medical Marijuana Through The VA

VIRGINIA: U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, joined Senator Brian Schatz to introduce legislation to allow doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discuss and potentially recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states that have established medical marijuana programs. The bill will create a temporary, five-year safe harbor protection for veterans who use medical marijuana and their doctors and direct the VA to research the effects of medical marijuana on veterans in pain as well as the relationship between medical marijuana programs and a potential reduction in opioid abuse among veterans.

“Right now, in the 33 states where it is legal, doctors may recommend medical marijuana to help eligible patients. Our bill ensures that doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs can discuss and potentially recommend medical marijuana to their patients that are veterans in accordance with state law. To do otherwise amounts to unfairly punishing the men and women who served in our military. The bill would also take an important step in further exploring whether medical marijuana can be a viable tool to help veterans in pain and reduce opioid abuse,” Kaine said.

The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act is supported by the American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Pain Society, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans Cannabis Coalition, Veterans Medical Cannabis Association, NORML, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Americans for Safe Association, Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

“Our members have spoken loud and clear on this issue,” said Tom Porter, Legislative Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  “Eighty-three percent of respondents to our recently-released member survey approved of cannabis use for medicinal purposes. With such overwhelming support, we need to be removing barriers to care for veterans, not maintaining them. IAVA applauds Sen. Schatz for introducing the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act to do just that.”

“When nearly one in four veterans report that they are consuming cannabis for therapeutic purposes, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would provide crucial medical and civil protections for the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve this country. It is unconscionable that these brave individuals who stepped up to protect our nation’s freedoms would be treated as criminals when they return home simply for treating their medical ailments with a safe and effective option under state law,” said Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML. “We applaud and appreciate the leadership by Senator Schatz in putting forward this legislation.”

Harris Poll: Majority Of Americans Want Marijuana Legalized

NEW YORK: Eighty-five percent of Americans believe that marijuana “should be legalized for medical use,” and 57 percent of respondents endorse regulating it for anyone over the age of 21, according to national survey data compiled by Harris Insight & Analytics.

Among younger respondents (those ages 18 to 44), 68 percent agree that cannabis should be legal. Most respondents (57 percent) say that legalizing the plant would “help alleviate the opioid crisis.”

Data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs reports that chronic pain subjects frequently reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

Reasons provided by those who opposed legalization included fear of diversion and concerns that legalization could negatively impact traffic safety.

The Harris polling data is largely consistent with those of prior surveys finding that a majority of Americans back adult use legalization and that a super-majority of voters support medicinal cannabis access.

“Voters believe that ending America’s failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common-sense issue, not a partisan one,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told HealthDay, which commissioned the poll. “It’s time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

ASA Publishes The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide For U.S. Travel

Just time for the holidays, Americans For Safe Access (ASA) has published it’s medical cannabis patient’s guide for U.S. travel.  Available online, the flyer provides a handy review of the laws regarding medical cannabis across the country as a service to help patients legally acquire marijuana along their journey.

The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel is a convenient resource to help you navigate the crazy quilted patchwork of laws governing medical marijuana use in the United States.

Excerpt:

Following the 2020 general election, there are currently 48 states and four territories with some form of a medical cannabis access, as well as 13 states and the District of Columbia that now permit adult-use, but the rights and privileges they extend to medical cannabis patients vary among them. As a result, patients who travel for personal or employment reasons can find themselves unsure as to how to access medical cannabis in an unfamiliar place.

Given the importance of patients knowing the laws regarding medical cannabis in the states and jurisdictions they visit, ASA created The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel to help patients safely and legally learn how to acquire cannabis while travelling.

 

Blumenauer Calls On Supreme Court To Review Historic Appeal Challenging The Constitutionality Of Federal Criminalization Of Cannabis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to review and proceed with hearing Washington v. Barr, the most significant and potentially consequential cannabis-related lawsuit ever to be filed.

The Court will consider the plaintiffs’ appeal at a conference on Friday, October 9, and if the Court accepts the appeal for consideration, it could pave the way to federal legalization of cannabis for the first time since 1937, providing relief to millions of Americans who treat with medical marijuana to maintain their health and lives. If the Court were to decline to hear the appeal, the case would be over for good, resigning another generation of medical marijuana patients and the state-legal cannabis industry – which has invested billions in the state-legal market – to further legal uncertainty.

“The fact that nearly 94 percent of Americans support legalizing medical cannabis and yet it remains illegal at the federal level is a national disgrace,” said Blumenauer. “Furthermore, the laws and subsequent court decisions on cannabis are a mangled patchwork of contradictions. This case is an important opportunity to fix our failed national cannabis laws.”

In July 2020, the plaintiffs in Washington v. Barr filed their appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the federal criminalization of medical marijuana. The case was filed on behalf of five plaintiffs, including former NFL player Marvin Washington, Iraq War Veteran Jose Belen, 15-year-old Alexis Bortell, nine-year-old Jagger Cotte and the Cannabis Cultural Association.

As acknowledged by the District Court in this case, Alexis, Jagger and Specialist Belen are patients whose lives have been saved by medical cannabis. As reflected in the Complaint, Marvin Washington is a cannabis entrepreneur whose business would otherwise be eligible for federal funding through the Minority Business Enterprise program, but for his participation in the cannabis industry. The Cannabis Cultural Association seeks economic parity and social justice for persons of color who have been unfairly singled out for prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act and unjustly excluded economically from the state-legal cannabis industry.

Blumenauer along with seven federal lawmakers submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff’s appeal. The case also has amicus brief support from 19 advocacy groups, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the International Cannabis Bar Association, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Last Prisoner Project, Minority Cannabis Business Association, and Americans For Safe Access.

Despite its legalization by 38 U.S. states and territories, cannabis is illegal at the federal level, creating insurmountable problems for patients around the country. Patients have lost their jobs, been expelled from colleges, and lost their professional licenses, even if state-legal jurisdictions, due to cannabis stigmatization wrought by federal prohibition.

While cannabis is also on the ballot in five states that will be voting on some form of cannabis legalization in November, adoption of legalization electorally on the state level will not solve the problems associated with federal prohibition. Rather, it would merely reinforce the absurdity of marijuana’s classification under Schedule I.

To read the full amicus brief filed on behalf of Blumenauer and his Congressional colleagues, click here.

Gardner, Warren, Joyce and Blumenauer Unveil Bicameral, Bipartisan Legislation to Protect State Marijuana Policies

Forty-Six States, Washington D.C., Two Territories, and a Number of Tribes Have Legalized Marijuana in Some Form

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Representatives David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) today introduced the bicameral, bipartisan Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act) to ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders. The bill also extends these protections to Washington D.C, U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribes, and contains common-sense guardrails to ensure that states, territories, and tribes regulating marijuana do so safely.

Forty-six states currently have laws permitting or decriminalizing marijuana or marijuana-based products – and Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and a number of tribes have similar laws. As states developed their own approaches to marijuana enforcement, the Department of Justice issued guidance to safeguard these state actions and ensure practical use of limited law enforcement resources. However, this guidance was withdrawn earlier this year, creating legal uncertainty, threatening public health and safety, and undermining state regulatory regimes.

“In 2012, Coloradans legalized marijuana at the ballot box and the state created an apparatus to regulate the legal marijuana industry.  But because of the one-size-fits-all federal prohibition, state decisions like this put Colorado and other states at odds with the federal government,” said Senator Gardner. “The federal government is closing its eyes and plugging its ears while 46 states have acted.  The bipartisan STATES Act fixes this problem once and for all by taking a states’ rights approach to the legal marijuana question. The bipartisan, commonsense bill ensures the federal government will respect the will of the voters – whether that is legalization or prohibition – and not interfere in any states’ legal marijuana industry.”

“Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development,” said Senator Warren. “States like Massachusetts have put a lot of work into implementing common sense marijuana regulations – and they have the right to enforce their own marijuana policies. The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.”

“We should trust the people of the states, like Ohio, who have voted to implement responsible common-sense regulations and requirements for the use, production, and sale of cannabis,”said Representative Joyce. “If the people of these states have decided to provide help for those veterans and others suffering from pain and other health issues, we should allow them access without government interference.”

“For too long the senseless prohibition of marijuana has devastated communities, disproportionately impacting poor Americans and communities of color. Not to mention, it’s also wasted resources and stifled critical medical research,” said Representative Blumenauer. “It’s past time to put the power back in the hands of the people. Congress must right this wrong.”

Ignoring the ability of states, territories, and tribes to determine for themselves what type of marijuana regulation works best comes with real costs. Legitimate businesses that comply with state laws are blocked from access to basic banking services. Illicit markets often spring up and local law enforcement must divert resources needed elsewhere. Thousands of people are prosecuted and locked up in our criminal justice system. Qualified scientists and state public health departments struggle to conduct basic and epidemiological research or spur medical advances, and the fundamental nature of state and tribal sovereignty is violated. As more states, territories, and tribes thoughtfully consider updates to marijuana regulations, often through voter-initiated referendums, it is critical that Congress take immediate steps to safeguard their right to do so by passing the STATES Act.

The legislation has been endorsed by organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Safe Access, Americans for Tax Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign for Liberty, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Institute for Liberty, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, the National Cannabis Bar Association, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the New Federalism Fund,NORML, the Northwest Credit Union Association, R Street, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

The STATES Act:

  • Amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that – as long as states and tribes comply with a few basic protections – its provisions no longer apply to any person acting in compliance with State or tribal laws relating to marijuana activities.
  • Clearly states that compliant transactions are not trafficking and do not result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction.
  • Removes industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances under the CSA.
  • The following federal criminal provisions under the CSA continue to apply:
    • Prohibits endangering human life while manufacturing marijuana.
    • Prohibits employment of persons under age 18 in drug operations.
  • Prohibits the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities such as rest areas and truck stops.
  • Prohibits the distribution or sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes.

A fact sheet about the legislation is available here, and the full bill text is available here.

House Passes Budget With Medical Cannabis Protection Amendment

Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment will Protect Patients from AG Sessions until September 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: After months of debate and continuing resolutions, the House of Representatives has passed its Appropriations package for the fiscal year of 2018. Unlike previous short term measures, this bill will fully fund the government through September 30, 2018. At over 2,200 pages the bill is a massive combination of funding outlays and policy. Due to the hard work of advocates the bill includes the text of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

The amendment, which has appeared in previous versions of the annual appropriations bill protects medical cannabis patients and programs from federal interference by the Department of Justice. Due to the recession of the Cole, Ogden, and other memos by Attorney General Sessions, this amendment is the only thing that prevents large-scale federal raids and prosecutions against businesses and individuals complying with state laws. The full text of the amendment is below:

SEC. 538. None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions lobbied Congress to oppose the re-passage of the amendment. In a letter sent in May 2017, he told Congress:  “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”  Sessions has been a vocal adversary of medical cannabis. Patient advocates fear that without the protections granted by the CJS Medical Marijuana Amendment, Session would be able to shut down medical cannabis programs and the patients they serve.

“The inclusion of the CJS Amendment in the House budget shows that Congress knows it must protect medical cannabis patients from AG Sessions and his Department of Justice. We are extremely grateful to the sponsors, Congressman Rohrabacher and Congressman Blumenauer, and the other members that showed leadership on the issue.“said Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access. “Now we hope the Senate will feel the same. We are one step closer to knowing patients will now be protected for another year while we work on passing comprehensive legislation like the CARERS ACT.”

Support for the re-passage of the amendment was strong and diverse. In November 2017, 66 members of the House signed on to a letter to Congressional Leadership that expressed the desire to maintain protections for state medical cannabis programs. The letter was signed by 28 Republicans and 38 Democrats.

A similar letter was also sent last year to appropriations leadership signed by Americans for Safe Access, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, US Pain Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Epilepsy Foundation, Tourette Association of America, National Women’s Health Network, and Realm of Caring.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate and  will be considered under a closed rule, meaning that the time of debate and ability to amend the bill will be limited. While a government shutdown remains possible over other policy provisions in the bill, it is incredibly encouraging to see the provisions of this amendment in the original text of the bill.

The bill also includes several provisions protecting industrial hemp, and a significant number of provisions related to combating the opioid crisis.

 

Questions, Answers About North Dakota And Medical Marijuana

By Blake Nicholson, Associated Press

NORTH DAKOTA: With the pending signature of Gov. Doug Burgum, medical marijuana will become legal in North Dakota. Here’s a look at what’s next:

WHEN WILL IT BE AVAILABLE?

Within a year, according to state health officials who will regulate the system.

The health department expects five of every 1,000 North Dakotas to use medical marijuana, according to Deputy State Health Officer Arvy Smith. That’s based on the experience in Delaware, which uses a system similar to what North Dakota plans.

Kenan Bullinger, who directs North Dakota’s program, expects use to steadily rise. Again, that’s based on Delaware, where registered patient counts have risen from fewer than 50 the first year to more than 1,400 last year.

Neighboring Minnesota had plenty of growing pains with the medical marijuana program it approved in 2014. But Smith said Minnesota’s program is much more restrictive and not comparable. She said North Dakota will still look to Minnesota for expertise on processes and other issues.

WHO CAN USE IT?

People including minors with “debilitating medical conditions” can apply to the Health Department for a registry card that costs $50 per year. A doctor or nurse practitioner must authorize a hopeful patient. Cards can be revoked for misuse, and unsuccessful applicants have to wait a year to reapply.

State law lists 17 qualifying medical conditions, along with terminal illnesses. The Health Department will study adding others, but Fargo medical marijuana advocate Rilie Ray Morgan said he thinks the list is fairly comprehensive. Morgan headed last year’s initiative campaign that culminated with voters approving the drug.

WHAT KINDS OF POT CAN PEOPLE USE?

Capsules; a topical product for the skin or hair; a tincture solution; and a patch. Smoking it? Only if a doctor or nurse practitioner recommends that method.

Users also must follow various rules, such as not doing so in certain public places and not subjecting children to smoke or vapors.

Employers don’t have to allow medical marijuana in the workplace, and care facilities such as nursing homes can reasonably restrict its use.

WHERE DO I GET IT?

The Health Department plans to register two “compassion centers” to make medical marijuana and eight more centers to dispense it. There are numerous application criteria, including security measures, and big fees — $110,000 for a two-year certificate for manufacturing operations, and $90,000 for dispensaries. They’re subject to random inspections by Health Department staff.

Center “agents” — a catch-all term for center officials including owners, employees and investors — must have a drug-free criminal record, pay a $200 fee and undergo a background check.

Patients or their caregivers have to get the drug through a direct transaction, Bullinger said. That means it can be obtained at a dispensary, or a dispensary might set up its own direct delivery program, but it cannot be gotten through the mail or a third-party delivery company such as UPS or FedEx. North Dakotans also must purchase from a North Dakota dispensary — they can’t buy it in another state and bring it home.

CAN I HELP SOMEONE ELSE GET IT?

If you’re 21, if you have a drug-free criminal record, if you’ve applied to be a designated caregiver for a registered patient, if you’ve paid a $50 annual fee and if you’ve passed a criminal background check — then yes, you can.

HOW MUCH CAN I BUY?

No more than 2 1/2 ounces of dried leaves or flowers every 30 days, with no more than 3 ounces in possession at any one time. Users can’t have medical marijuana products with more than 2,000 milligrams of the intoxicant THC in a 30-day period.

Pediatric medical marijuana is limited to a maximum THC concentration of 6 percent.

Advocates question why lawmakers, not doctors, are regulating amounts.

Beth Collins, a lobbyist for the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said some patients will need more amounts of THC than others.

Smith and Bullinger said officials looked at limits in other states and consulted with the state crime lab on acceptable limits.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

Whatever the market says. The state won’t regulate pricing.

People can’t grow their own, either. That’s aimed at preventing medical marijuana from being used illegally, Smith said, but advocates say it bars patients from a potentially cheaper supply of the drug.

“I’m afraid of what medical cannabis is going to cost with the current program,” Morgan said.

In Minnesota, patient count hasn’t met projections, leading to losses for the state’s two manufacturers and exacerbating high prescription costs.

North Dakota law doesn’t require private insurers or government medical assistance programs to pay for medical marijuana.

HOW DO I KNOW IT’S SAFE?

It must be tested by the manufacturer or a certified laboratory for contaminants including pesticides and molds and to ensure THC levels are accurately labeled. The medical marijuana centers have to pay the testing costs.

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Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/NicholsonBlake

Statement On The Formation Of The Cannabis Caucus

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The nation’s leading cannabis and drug policy reform organizations commended Congressional members Thursday on the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

They represent constituents in four of the eight states that have enacted laws regulating cannabis for medical and adult use. Twenty additional states have enacted comprehensive medical cannabis laws, and 16 additional states have enacted limited or unworkable medical cannabis laws. In total, 44 states have adopted laws rolling back cannabis prohibition at the state level, representing 95% of the U.S. House of Representatives and 88% of the Senate.

Joint statement on the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus: 

“We commend Representatives Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young for their leadership on the issue of cannabis policy. The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform. It will also facilitate efforts to ease the tension between federal prohibition laws and state laws that regulate cannabis for medical and adult use.

“The formation of this caucus is a testament to how far our country has come on the issue of cannabis policy. There is a growing consensus that cannabis prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach. A strong majority of Americans support making cannabis legal for medical and adult use, and an even stronger majority believes states should be able to establish their own cannabis policies without interference from the federal government. We look forward to working with caucus members to translate this growing public sentiment into sound public policy.”

Joint Statement by The National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Americans for Safe Access, Marijuana Policy Project, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, and Clergy for a New Drug Policy.

For further comment, please contact the following organization representatives:

Justin Strekal, Political Director, NORML
202-483-5500, justin@norml.org

Michael Collins, Deputy Director National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance
202-683-2981, mcollins@drugpolicy.org

Betty Aldworth, Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy
202-393-5280, betty@ssdp.org

Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs, Americans for Safe Access
202-857-4272, beth@safeaccessnow.org

Robert Capecchi, Director of Federal Policies, Marijuana Policy Project
651-492-1739, rcapecchi@mpp.org

Taylor West, Deputy Director, National Cannabis Industry Association
303-223-3585, taylor@thecannabisindustry.org

Mikayla Hellwich, Media Relations Director, Law Enforcement Action Partnership
240-461-3066, mikayla@lawenforcementaction.org

Brian Muraresku, Executive Director and Counsel, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation
202-930-0097, bmuraresku@dcfr.org

Rev. Al Sharp, Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
773-494-0420, revaesharp@gmail.com

The Opening Bell Sounds For The Oregon Marijuana Market

By Tony Gallo

OREGON:  On July 1, Oregon became the fourth state to legalize marijuana use, enabling adults to legally possess and grow limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. (Recreational sales begin October 1.) With the legalization, and even before, the industry in Oregon was ramping up to grow, and in the spirit of Oregonians, help each other out.

Case in point is the Cannabis Creative Conference (CCC) which I had the privilege of attending. The  two-day conference, July 29-30,  was sponsored by CannaGuard Security, Chalice Farms and Elevate/Green America and held at the Portland Expo. It was formulated to be ‘from the industry, for the industry” and was developed by Bella Vista Events in collaboration with cannabis industry businesses. The conference was created to share strategies and cultivate important conversations around rules and regulations, marketing and financial strategies, and education.

The kick-off investor summit on July 28 was hosted by MJIC. Speaker Lori Glauser, Director, President and COO of Signal Bay Inc. said she was really pleased at how it all came together so quickly. “It was a terrific audience, terrific speakers. It was a great event and I look forward to more events just like it.”

Day one had a keynote by Steven Marks, Executive Director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association Co-founder and Executive Director. Noah Stokes of CannaGuard Security was Master of Ceremonies. Panels throughout the day included compliance, tips for building an MJ facility and lessons learned, building strategic partnerships and legalities to consider.

July 30 saw a keynote session of Industry Leaders sharing views of the industry’s future. Amy Margolis, Emerge Law Group, Attorney & Shareholder said, “This is really about people educating themselves, then filtering their information through professionals and creating unified talking points that move legalization forward on a local level. The biggest mistake we can make at this point is lack of professionalism and a scattershot approach to implementation,” driving home awareness of what’s really coming. Afternoon panels covered raising capital, cannabis technologies, real estate acquisition, risk mitigation, banking, payment processing and cash management.

The Cannabis Creative Conference was new and different and the estimated attendance was twice what was expected. As Leafly commented, “It was good for us because we did want to reach out and have a variety of people attend…we’ve done a couple of these (events) and sometimes they’re less well attended. I really don’t have enough positive things to say about it.“

The trade show hosted about 70 booths and 15 seminars daily and I was pleased to see cannabis industry leaders such as Rolland Safe, MJBA and RMMC Consulting at the conference supporting the Oregon cannabis business owners.

I also liked that all the presentations were recorded for those who couldn’t attend the conference. In the last few years, I have attended more than a dozen or so cannabis events across the USA and I would rate this one in my top 5 conferences.

Good job and I look forward to this format being used at other cannabis conferences.

Tony Gallo is the Senior Director of Sapphire Protection (www.sapphireprotection.com) with over 30 years in the Loss Prevention, Audit, Safety, and Risk/Emergency Management fields. Tony has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University and is a member of Americans for Safe Access and the National Cannabis Industry Association.  Tony is considered one of the leading authorities in cannabis and financial loan service security and safety. Contact Tony at tonyrgallo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.