Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) 2008

Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA)
[The office of Oregon's Attorney General has, by law, provided the ballot title summary below.]
Ballot Title: Permits State-Licensed Cultivation of Marijuana, Sale of Marijuana to Adults Through State Liquor Stores
Results Of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote permits state-licensed cultivation of marijuana and sale to adults through state liquor stores; ninety percent of net proceeds to state general fund. 
Results Of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains all existing prohibitions against the cultivation, manufacture, possession, and delivery of marijuana; retains current statues that permit regulated use of marijuana. 
Summary: Current law prohibits cultivation, manufacture, possession, and delivery of marijuana, but permits regulated medical use of marijuana. Proposed measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except driving under the influence laws. Directs renamed Oregon Cannabis and Liquor Control Commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies and medical research facilities for medical purposes, and to qualified adults for profit through state liquor stores.
Ninety percent of net proceeds goes to state general fund; smaller percentages for education, drug abuse treatment, promotion of hemp products.
Bans sales to, and possession by, minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit and minors barred. Commission to regulate illicit use, set price, other duties. Provides penalties. Other provisions. 
The Proposed Law:
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act
Whereas the people of the State of Oregon find that Cannabis hemp is an environmentally beneficial crop that:
(a) Yields several times more fiber, for paper and textiles, and healthier protein and oil than any other plant;
(b) Yields cloth and paper of superior strength and durability without the application of pesticides during cultivation and without producing cancer-causing pollutants during processing;
(c) Yields more biomass than any other plant outside the tropics, though it grows well in the tropics too, and grows faster than any other plant on earth in the temperate and cooler climates;
(d) Yields a substance that relieves the suffering of many ill people without life-threatening side effects; and,
Whereas the people find that federal and corporate misinformation campaigns that economically benefit small groups of people have suppressed the information above and the fact that:
(a) George Washington grew cannabis for more than 30 years and, while he was President, said, “the artificial preparation of hemp is really a curiosity” and told his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, that he was, “suggesting the policy of encouraging the growth of Hemp”;
(b) Thomas Jefferson invented a device to process cannabis, and cannabis fiber was used for most clothing and paper production until the invention of the cotton gin;
(c) Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, who spoke at the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787 more than any other delegate and of whom James Madison said, “the style and finish of the Constitution properly belongs to the pen of Gouverneur Morris,” wrote a paper he sent to Thomas Jefferson called, “Notes Respecting Tobacco” that compared cannabis and tobacco and concluded that cannabis “is to be preferred”; and,
Whereas the people find that cannabis is Oregon’s largest cash crop, indicating that cannabis prohibition has failed; and 
Whereas the people find that, despite misinformation concocted to justify cannabis prohibition, the courts of Alaska, Hawaii and Michigan have noted presidential commission findings, scientific studies, and learned treatises
(a) Characterize cannabis as a relatively nonaddictive and comparatively harmless euphoriant used and cultivated for more than 10,000 years without a single lethal overdose;
(b) Demonstrate that moderate cannabis intoxication causes very little impairment of psychomotor functions; reveal no significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities attributable solely to cannabis use; and that long-term, heavy cannabis users do not deviate significantly from their social peers in terms of mental function;
(c) Disprove the “stepping stone” or “gateway drug” argument that cannabis use leads to other drugs; rather, that lies taught about cannabis, once discovered, destroy the credibility of valid educational messages about moderate and responsible use and valid warnings against other truly dangerous drugs;
(d) Indicate that cannabis users are less likely to commit violent acts than alcohol users, refute the argument that cannabis causes criminal behavior, and suggest that most users avoid aggressive behavior, even in the face of provocation; and
(e) Declare that cannabis use does not constitute a public health problem of any significant dimension; finds no rational basis for treating cannabis as more dangerous than alcohol; and 
Whereas the people of the State of Oregon find that cannabis does not cause the social ills that its prohibition was intended to guard against; rather, that most of the social ills attributed to cannabis result from its unreasonable prohibition which:
(a) Provides incentives to traffic in marijuana instead of limiting its prevalence, since almost all cannabis users evade the prohibition, even though drastically expanding public safety budgets have reduced funding for other vital services such as education;
(b) Fosters a black market that exploits children, provides an economic subsidy for gangs, and sells cannabis of questionable purity and uncertain potency;
(c) Generates enormous, untaxed, illicit profits that debase our economy and corrupt our justice system; and,
(d) Wastes police resources, clogs our courts, and drains the public budget to no good effect; and,
Whereas, the people recall that alcohol prohibition had caused many of the same social ills before being replaced by regulatory laws which, ever since, have granted alcohol users the privilege of buying alcohol from state licensees, imposed strict penalties protecting children, delivered alcohol of sure potency, and generated substantial public revenues; and,
Whereas the people hold that cannabis prohibition is a sumptuary law of a nature repugnant to our constitution’s framers and which is so unreasonable and liberticidal as to:
(a) Arbitrarily violate the rights of cannabis users to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure as guaranteed to them by Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution;
(b) Unreasonably impose felony burdens on the cannabis users while the state grants special privileges to alcohol users, which violates Article 1, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution; 
(c) Unnecessarily proscribe consumption of an “herb bearing seed” given to humanity in Genesis 1:29, thereby violating their unqualified religious rights under Article 1, Section 3 and their Natural Rights under Article 1, Section 33 of the Oregon Constitution;
(d) Violates the individual’s right to privacy and numerous other Natural and Constitutional Rights reserved to the people under Article 1, Section 33 of the Oregon Constitution;
(e) Violates the state’s right to regulate and tax an intoxicant market as reserved to states under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, thereby abdicating control to illicit markets; and,
(f) Irrationally subvert the ends to which, in its Preamble, the Oregon Constitution was ordained and the purposes, in Article 1, Section 1, for which our government was instituted; now, 
Therefore, the people find that the constitutional ends of justice, order, and the perpetuation of  liberty; the governmental purposes of preserving the peace, safety, and happiness of the people; and the vitality of the other constitutional provisions cited above, demand the replacement of a costly, self-defeating prohibition with regulatory laws controlling cannabis cultivation, potency, sale, and use; defining and prohibiting cannabis abuse; protecting children with a comprehensive drug education program and strict penalties for the sale or provision of cannabis to minors; funding a state drug abuse treatment program; and raising substantial revenue for public use.
Wherefore, be it enacted by the people of the state of Oregon, the laws relating to cannabis are revised as follows:
Section 1. This Act shall operate uniformly throughout Oregon and fully replace and supersede all statutes, municipal charter enactments, and local ordinances relating to cannabis, except those relating to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The name of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is hereby changed to the Oregon
Cannabis & Liquor Control Commission. This Act is a scientific experiment by the people of the state of Oregon to lower the misuse of, illicit traffic in and harm associated with cannabis and will set up voluntary studies of cannabis users under ORS 474.045 (b) and other studies.
Section 2. Section 3 of this Act creates an ORS chapter 474 titled the “Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.” Legislative Counsel shall move and renumber existing provisions of chapter 474. 
Section 3. 474.005 Definitions. As used in this chapter:
(1) “Abuse” means repetitive or excessive drug use such that the individual fails to fulfill a statutory or common law duty, including but not limited to the duties owed by parents to children, by motorists to pedestrians and other motorists, and by employees to employers, fellow employees, and the public.
(2) “Cannabis” means the flowering tops and all parts, derivatives, or preparations of the cannabis plant, also known as “marijuana,” containing cannabinoids in concentrations established by the commission to be psychoactive, but does not include “hemp” as defined by ORS 474.005(5).
(3) “Commission” means the Oregon Cannabis & Liquor Control Commission, or OCLCC, formerly the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
(4) “Cultivation” means growing the cannabis plant.
(5) “Hemp” means the seeds, stems, and stalks of the cannabis plant, and all other parts, products, and byproducts of the cannabis plant not containing cannabinoids in concentrations established by the commission to be psychoactive. Seeds and starts of all cannabis strains shall be considered hemp.
(6) “Person” means a natural individual or corporate entity of any kind whatsoever.

474.015 Short Title. This chapter may be cited as the “Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.” 
474.025 Purpose of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act. This chapter shall be liberally construed so as to minimize the misuse and abuse of cannabis; to prevent the illicit sale or provision of cannabis to minors; and to protect the peace, safety, and happiness of Oregonians while preserving the largest measure of liberty consistent with the above purposes.
474.035 Powers and duties of the commission, licenses for cultivation and processing. Hemp fiber, protein, oil not regulated.
(1) The commission shall have the powers necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. It shall make such
rules and regulations as will discourage and minimize the diversion of cannabis to illicit sale or use within the state, the illicit importation and sale of cannabis cultivated or processed outside the state, and the illicit export or removal of cannabis from the state. The commissions jurisdiction shall extend to any person licensed under this chapter
to cultivate or process cannabis, but shall not extend to any person who manufactures products from hemp. Hemp production for fiber, protein and oil shall be allowed without regulation, license or fee. No federal license shall be required to cultivate hemp in Oregon. 
(2) The commission shall issue to any qualified applicant a license to cultivate cannabis for sale to the commission. The license shall specify the areas, plots, and extent of lands to be cultivated. The commission shall equitably apportion the purchase of cannabis among all licensees. The commission shall purchase and sell cannabis products of the quality and grade set by market demand. 
(3) The commission shall issue licenses to process cannabis to qualified applicants who submit successful bids. Licensed processors shall, as specified by the commission, contract, cure, extract, refine, mix, and package the entire cannabis crop and deliver it to the commission’s physical possession as soon as possible, but not later than four months after harvest. 
474.045 Commission to sell cannabis at cost for medical purposes. The Commission shall sell cannabis at cost, including OCLCC expenses:
(a) To Oregon and other states’ pharmacies for use under a physician’s order for glaucoma, nausea related to chemotherapy, AIDS, or any other condition for which a physician finds cannabis to be an effective treatment; and,
(b) To recognized Oregon medical research facilities for use in research directed toward expanding medical and sociological knowledge of the composition, effects, uses, and abuse of cannabis, to include studies of cannabis
purchasers voluntarily participating through OCLCC stores under ORS 474.055.
474.055 Commission to set price and sell through OCLCC stores. The commission shall sell cannabis through OCLCC stores and shall set the retail price of cannabis to generate profits for revenue to be applied to the purposes noted in ORS chapter 474 and to minimize incentives to purchase cannabis elsewhere, to purchase cannabis for resale or for removal to other states.
474.065 Qualifications of purchasers and licensees, effect of conviction. To be qualified to purchase, cultivate, or process cannabis, a person must be over 21 years of age and not have been convicted of sale of cannabis to minors or convicted under this chapter of unlicensed cultivation or sale of cannabis.
(2) Conviction for cultivation or sale of cannabis to other than minors, when committed prior to the effective date of this chapter, shall not be grounds for denial of an application for a license under this chapter.
474.075 Disposition of license fees and profits from sale of cannabis by state. 
(1) The commission shall collect license fees which shall be calculated and continually appropriated to defray the commission’s administrative costs of issuing licenses under this chapter and the Attorney General’s costs of litigation in defense of the validity of this chapter’s provisions and in defense of persons subjected to criminal or civil liability for actions licensed or required under this chapter.
(2) All money from the sale of cannabis shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for credit to a cannabis account, from which sufficient money shall be continually appropriated:
(a) To reimburse the commission for the costs of purchasing, processing, testing, grading, shipping, and selling cannabis; of regulating, inspecting, and auditing licensees; and of research studies required by this chapter; and,
(b) To reimburse the Attorney General’s office for costs of enforcing this chapter’s criminal provisions.
(c) To reimburse OCLCC contractors for their expenses and labor with 15 percent of gross sales.
(3) All money remaining in the cannabis account after reimbursement of the related commission and Attorney General costs shall be profits which the State Treasurer shall distribute quarterly as follows:
(a) Ninety percent shall be credited to the state’s general fund to finance state programs.
(b) Eight percent shall be credited to the Department of Human Resources and shall be continually appropriated to fund various drug abuse treatment programs on demand.
(c) One percent shall be credited to create and fund an agricultural state committee for the promotion of Oregon hemp fiber, protein and oil crops and associated industries.
(d) One percent shall be distributed to the state’s school districts, appropriated by enrollment, and shall be continually appropriated to fund a drug education program which shall:
(I) Emphasize a citizen’s rights and duties under our social compact and to explain to students how drug abusers might injure the rights of others by failing to fulfill such duties;
(II) Persuade students to decline to consume intoxicants by providing them with accurate information about the threat intoxicants pose to their mental and physical development; and,
(III) Persuade students that if, as adults, they choose to consume intoxicants, they must nevertheless responsibly fulfill all duties they owe others.
474.085 Commission to establish psychoactive concentrations of cannabinols. The commission, based on findings made in consultation with the Board of Pharmacy and cannabis and hemp farmers to cannabinoid and cannabidiol concentrations which produce intoxication, the economics of residual cannabis extraction, and strains of hemp that produce better quality and quantity of fiber, protein and oil, shall establish reasonable concentrations of cannabinols deemed psychoactive under this chapter.
474.095 Commission to set standards, test purity, grade potency of cannabis, label contents.
(1) The commission, in consultation with the State Board of Pharmacy, shall set standards which the commission shall apply:
(a) To test and reject cannabis containing adulterants in concentrations known to harm people; and, 
(b) To grade cannabis potency by measuring the concentrations of psychoactive cannabinoids it contains.
(2) The commission shall affix to cannabis packages a label which shall bear the state seal, a certification of purity, a grade of potency, the date of harvest, a warning as to the potential for abuse, and notice of laws prohibiting resale,
removal from the state, public consumption, and provision and sale to minors.
474.105 Commission may limit purchases. The commission may limit the quantity of cannabis purchased by a person at one time or over any length of time and may refuse to sell cannabis to any person who violates this chapter’s provisions or abuses cannabis within the meaning of ORS 474.005(1). The commission will require persons convicted of violating this act, any criminal statute while under the influence of cannabis, or neglecting any statutory or common-law duty by reason of cannabis intoxication or abuse, to complete a program prior to reinstating their privilege to purchase cannabis.
474.115 Unlicensed cultivation for sale, removal from the state, penalties. Cultivation for sale, removal from the state for sale, and sale of cannabis, without commission authority, shall be Class C felonies, and removal from the state of cannabis for other than sale shall be a Class A misdemeanor.
474.125 Sale or provision to minors, penalties, exception. The sale of cannabis to minors shall be a Class B felony, and gratuitous provision of cannabis to minors shall be a Class A misdemeanor, except when to a minor over 18 years of age under the same conditions provided by ORS 471.030(1) for alcohol.
474.135 Fine as additional penalty. In addition to other penalties and in lieu of any civil remedy, conviction of sale or unlicensed cultivation for sale under ORS 474.115 or 474.125 shall be punishable by a fine which the court shall determine will deprive an offender of any profits from the criminal activity.
474.145 Acquisition by minors, penalty. Except as provided by ORS 474.125, the purchase, attempt to purchase, possession, or acquisition of cannabis by a person under 21 years of age shall be a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $250.
474.155 Public consumption prohibited, penalty, exception. Except where prominent signs permit and minors are neither admitted nor employed, public consumption of cannabis shall be a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $250. 474.205 Commission to study methods of use, potential for abuse, establish cannabis levels for presumption of intoxication. The commission, in consultation with the Board of Pharmacy and by grants to accredited research facilities, shall: 
(a) Study methods of use and the potential for, and ill effects of, abuse of cannabis, the possible damage of throat and lungs from inhaling cannabis smoke, less harmful methods of administration, including but not limited to filtration of smoke and non-combustive vaporization of the psychoactive agents in cannabis, and shall report its findings in pamphlets distributed at OCLCC stores; and, 
(b) Study cannabis intoxication and, if practicable, shall establish by rule levels of impairment above which a person shall be presumed intoxicated.
474.215 Presumption of negligence. In civil cases, a rebuttable presumption of negligence shall arise upon clear and convincing evidence that a person is found to be intoxicated at the time of an accident and if the person’s actions materially contributed to the cause of injury. 
474.305 Disclosure of names and addresses prohibited. Information on applicants, licensees, and purchasers under this chapter shall not be disclosed except upon the person’s request.
474.315 Attorney General’s duties. The Attorney General shall vigorously defend this Act and any person prosecuted for acts licensed under this chapter, propose a federal and/or international act to remove impediments to this chapter, deliver the proposed federal and/or international act to each member of Congress and/or international organization, and urge adoption of the proposed federal and/or international act through all legal and appropriate means. 
474.325 Effect. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2011. Any section of this Act being held invalid as to any person or circumstance shall not affect the application of any other section of this Act that can be given full or partial effect without the invalid section or application. If any law or entity of any type whatsoever is held to impede this chapter’s full effect, unimpeded provisions shall remain in effect and the impeded provisions shall regain effect upon the impediments removal.

Campaign for the Restoration
and Regulation of Hemp
P.O. Box 86741
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-4606

Addictions are a Cost of War: Marijuana Speech #31

31st speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 5-9-2012; 

Honorable Commissioners:
          Last week, Mr. Ford took offense to my previous speech, saying that I had tarred all Vietnam vets with the same brush, and “We didn’t all come back drug-crazed maniacs.”
          I didn’t say that anyone came back a “drug-crazed maniac”; I said that some men came back with “habits”.  I also confined such remarks to people who were protesting that war, and who had such habits, in talking about the origin of our modern “drug culture.”  Mr. Ford can rest assured that I was not talking about him or people like him.
          I talk about what I know, in this case, men who were drafted to ‘Nam with drug habits and came back with more reason to use them.  In the case of my late husband, Randy Brown, when he was drafted, he had a wife and two sons, and owned a bar in Georgia.  During his first tour, his wife divorced him, kept the kids, and sold the bar.  He stayed for a second tour. 
          Before he owned the bar, he had a roofing business in Kansas; he was a natural entrepreneur.  After he was drafted, he never started another business; all his efforts were focused on get-rich-quick schemes.  Why work hard and save your money when the government can pick you up at any time and take it all away?  Being in the black market, that threat always hung over his head.
          Since the discovery of opiates, addiction to such pain-killers has been a cost of war.  A war on those who take marijuana, opiates and other pain-killers and stimulants does not help our soldiers recover from their experiences overseas; it just makes them the enemy in their own country.
          Many of us are said to be primed for drug addiction by trauma in childhood.  We are not helped with our addictions by being made the enemy by our government.  I was well on my way to being a social alcoholic when I smoked pot in college at 18—in a state where the drinking age is 19.  Your ban on youth drinking didn’t stop me; it just taught me to get drunk.  I was drunk when I tried pot.  Your ban on marijuana didn’t stop me from finding my drug of choice; your ban on harder drugs didn’t stop me from trying them to see what they really do.  All it did was put me outside the rule of law, afraid to report an attempted rape.
          Please help stop the war on us and our habits and support the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act as a first step toward peace and freedom of medicine.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Save Our Children by Legalizing: Marijuana Speech #30

30th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 5-1-2012; 

Honorable Commissioners:
          Last week, I returned to the subject of legalizing marijuana and other drugs.  Commissioner Reedy, you refused a copy of my speech and answered me in Matters from Commissioners.  Thank you for arguing.
          Your remarks boiled down to the fact that you couldn’t understand why I am so concerned about weeds and not about saving our children from drugs.  I didn’t say a word about weeds; I did decry disorder and say that police should be more concerned with catching thieves and getting people to clean up their properties than with keeping us up on the latest teenage slang.
          Why are the cops concerned with teenage slang?  Because the kids are using and selling illegal drugs.  Our laws that supposedly protect children by allowing higher penalties for selling to children and lower penalties for children generally, make children our street dealers.  They can’t even get a job until they are 16; they often start dealing drugs and making big bucks long before that.  They get hooked on easy money and don’t get real jobs.  By the time they are in their mid-twenties, they couldn’t get a job if they wanted to, having no work experience to put on a resume, and they can’t rent a place, because they have no pay stubs.  They are trapped in the black market.
          I have seen this happen to too many kids.  Mothers marched against Prohibition because their kids were getting drunk.   Our kids are getting high and dealing.  We have wasted 3 generations of entrepreneurs on the black market since Nixon declared War on Drugs in the 70’s, pushing up prices faster than inflation. 
          Our black market in marijuana has collapsed in recent years, thanks to medical pot; the only place one can get high prices is out of state or in tolerated dispensaries, selling to people with cards but no grower.  I used to tell people who asked me where to get pot to ask any scruffy kid.  Now the scruffy kids are asking me.
What’s a dealer to do when his drug of choice is no longer profitable?  He moves on to harder drugs.  Soldiers are coming back from Afghanistan hooked on heroin, and getting opiates for their injuries.  Kids are selling to them and each other.  Overdoses are rising among young adults.
          To protect our children from dealing drugs, we need to legalize all drugs, starting with marijuana.  We are collecting signatures to put marijuana under essentially the same regulation as liquor.  Please support the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, now petitioning for the fall ballot.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Drug Culture v. Cop Culture: Marijuana Speech #29

29th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 4-25-2012; 

Honorable Commissioners:
Last week we had a presentation from our local cops through the ladies of our Department of Public Health, titled, “You can’t fight what you don’t know.”  It was about the drug culture in our high school and on our streets: slang; acronyms and logos; clothing lines with such logos.  The one I found most amusing was “SRH: Stoners ‘Reaking Havoc.”  Stoners don’t wreak havoc.
Nonetheless, the cops are exceedingly interested in their culture, clothing, and the places one might stash a pipe, like a bracelet, or a belt buckle.  One wishes that they were as versed in the culture of thieves.
But theft culture isn’t in your face.  Thieves don’t advertise themselves, even to each other.  People are not proud of being thieves.  They don’t celebrate theft in song and clothing; they stay very quiet about their activities.
Thieves we have always had.  Drugs we have always had.  We have not always had drug culture.  That began to really develop as people who used illegal drugs protested the Vietnam War and at the same time rejected the culture of war on their habits, including the habits they brought back from ‘Nam.  Those men were yanked out of their lives and made slave soldiers in a foreign land for no good reason; they had plenty of reason to take opiates and cannabis. 
In thanks for their involuntary service, Nixon declared war on drugs and the people who take them.  Reagan, a few years later, declared zero tolerance.
As those men who went to ‘Nam become grandfathers and great-grandfathers and their sons and grandsons return from Afghanistan with heroin habits, the drug culture has become more bold.  We put pot leaves and only slightly cryptic acronyms and logos on our clothing, to irritate the Powers That Be.  As government tries to do too much and thus neglects the basics of law, which is keeping order, it loses power to harass and jail us for mere habits.
Perhaps police should stop trying to keep up with teenage slang and start getting people to clean up their properties.  Stop making war on substances and start concentrating on catching thieves.  Stop riding around in cars, stopping speeders, and start walking neighbourhoods, talking to people.  It isn’t the distance one covers in a day that counts; it’s the amount of disorder one stops.
I ask this Board to tell our sheriff that you think that marijuana laws should receive the lowest level of enforcement, and support the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, now collecting signatures for the 2012 ballot.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Pot Prices Collapse! Marijuana Speech #28

28th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 5-25-2011 

Dennis Roler this week editorialized in the Daily Courier, “Police and marijuana supporters are duelling over proposed tighter regulations in Salem, but they are missing the point.”
HB 3664 is apparently the last of two dozen such bills introduced this year that is still alive; it would tighten eligibility for cards and give police more access to OMMP records—too much access for Mr. Roler.  He thinks that the “old” program of growing one’s own should be scrapped in favour of state-grown pot sold in state-owned dispensaries, which would bring the collapsing prices for pot in our in-state black market back with a roar.
One might wonder why, after so many years, so many legislators introduced so many bills to do something to tighten up OMMP, and their fellows threw cold water on them.  Wonder no longer; the answer is in those collapsing prices.  A lot of people who have formerly made a living off their risky behavior are hurting now that it is not so risky and a lot of other people have gotten into the act. 
Under OMMP the prices have fluctuated from a low right after harvest, back to high prices before harvest.  A brave grower could hold on to the bulk of his crop until prices recovered and still make good money.  But that price recovery point has gotten later every year, and this year, they have not yet recovered.
Have no doubt that many of these braver growers talk to their legislators, probably posing as rabid anti-pot-people for protective coloration.  But marijuana consumers also talk to their lawmakers, and more legislators appear to support consumers than support black marketers.  They know that tightening up eligibility for medical marijuana and making it more dangerous to grow can only revive the black market and make life harder for consumers of weed.
Now that people are getting used to the idea that they can’t make a lot of money off a few plants anymore and young pot dealers are looking for real jobs, it is time to put pot on the same footing as alcohol and pass the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.  That will allow a few licensed farmers to make a living off of marijuana, allow any of us to grow our own without license, and drive a stake through the heart of the black market in marijuana.  This Board should ask the legislature to pass it now, and not wait for the People to pass it next year.  There’s still time in this session; they can gut and stuff HB 3664.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Indoor Cultivation Sucks: Marijuana Speech #27

27th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 4-27-2011 
An article appeared in the April 15th Oregonian, “Pot growing gobbles power.”  Eric Mortenson tells us about research by Californian Evan Mills that indicates that indoor marijuana growing uses a full one percent of electricity consumed in the United States. 
I have long held that growing pot indoors is stupid.  It’s a huge full-to-part-sun plant that cannot grow with normal indoor lighting, and it takes a lot of water as well.  1000-watt lights were the standard twenty years ago when I was interested in indoor growing.  The heat from these lamps and the humidity from rapidly transpiring plants has to be vented, which uses still more power.
If it isn’t properly vented, it is hard on a house, as is water that spills on the floor.  It can cause mold and dry rot.  This is a major problem for landlords screening potential tenants; tenants generally don’t tell their landlord that they plan to grow pot in a house, even with a license.
          Cannabis is a big plant for which a pot is never big enough.  Once its roots fill the pot, it cannot get enough water and gets stressed, which encourages indoor pests like whitefly and spider mites.  This encourages the use of insecticides that lower the quality of the product, and can harm consumers.
Indoors is a very expensive, difficult way to grow marijuana.  It makes electricity more expensive for everyone and ruins rentals.  The only reason that anyone grows pot indoors is fear of police and/or thieves.  Medical marijuana has reduced fear of cops, but it has brought the work of thieves into the open; legal growers report thefts. 
A greenhouse is the best option for growing marijuana safely in Southern Oregon: it keeps the crop hidden; gives it lots of the heat and humidity it loves; it can have no floor, allowing roots to spread freely in the soil beneath; and it protects the heavy buds from fall fogs and rain that can cause mold.
When Oregon passes the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, it will end the black market within our state, and the fear of cops and pot thieves with it.  People will grow a few plants in their yards for themselves; licensed growers will grow it in fields, where it belongs, for sale to the state.  Farmers will grow hemp in fields for the world market.   One place you may be sure it will not be grown very much will be indoors, under lights.  Landlords will have one less worry, and we won’t be wasting electricity growing a plant that loves the sun.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

End Nixon’s War on Us: Marijuana Speech #26

26th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 4-13-2011 

I recently received new petition sheets for the Cannabis Tax Act 2012; I will be petitioning for this as well as All-Non-Partisan Elections in Oregon at my weekly protest on Saturdays between noon and 2 PM at 6th and G in Grants Pass, and before that at the Growers’ Market entrance between 10:00 and 11:30.
But we are in a deep budget hole, and I ask this Board and others to ask our state representatives to pass this measure now because we need it now, to end the violence and corruption of the marijuana black market and stop spending our money on unnecessary, counterproductive evil.
Speaking of counterproductive evil, I’d like to remind my tea party compatriots that the War on Drugs was named such by Richard Nixon, following Johnson’s War on Poverty, around the time he instituted wage and price controls against the inflation he’d unleashed by expansion of the Vietnam War.  He created the Drug Enforcement Administration and turned it into a cabinet-level department, just as he did the Department of Education.  At the point when states were starting to de-emphasize drug-law enforcement because it filled prisons with low-level offenders and got in the way of stopping real crime, he got Congress to give the states money for his war on us and our habits.
People in Mexico are protesting Mexico’s intensified war on drugs, which is tearing their country apart and making it particularly dangerous to work for the Mexican government, as well as to visit or live there.  They should legalize marijuana, license the manufacture of other U.S.-controlled substances, and let US deal with the consequences of our own black market while they profit off it.
Oregon should do a little of the same, by passing the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, and letting the rest of the nation deal with their black markets in pot while we eliminate ours.  Our state can stop spending money enforcing stupid laws and concentrate on real crimes like theft.  Our people can stop spending so much on a weed that we can grow ourselves, and have more money for other products and services.
Now, when newly elected tea-party congressmen are looking for portions of the federal budget to cut, we should remind them that there are whole Cabinet-level departments, like the DEA, committed to unnecessary evil that should never have been created and would not be missed by most of us if they were eliminated.  Frankly, if they can’t get rid of the DEA and the Department of Education, they won’t get far with balancing our budget.
(You may contact your Congressman by calling 202-224-3121; you don’t even have to know his name.  Put this number in your cell phone for easy use; it’s rather satisfying to call and leave a message for your public servant.)

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Persecuting Us on Borrowed Money: Marijuana Speech #25

25th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, 2-23-2011 
On Monday, KDRV Channel 12 told us that House Bill 2982 had been introduced to scrap the OMMP law and re-write it without protections for patients from over-enthusiastic cops, and disqualifying anyone with a controlled substance conviction from having a card.
After Jeopardy, I turned to RVTV Channel 14, and found Jackson County cops selling this bill or something similar, telling us about all the evils of medical marijuana, and saying that more controls on it would somehow stop those evils.  The trouble is, all of the evils that they cited are part of the black market preserved by OMMP: theft of pot; growing indoors in rental housing; selling illegally; selling to minors; minors selling to anyone who wants it.  All of these evils happened before OMMP; they have simply become more open as the legal jeopardy of growing and possession has been reduced for those with a license.  Tightening up the rules won’t stop these evils; it will only make them worse.
Week before last, 50 JOINT Josephine County and Oregon State Police officers spent 400 man hours arresting 7 people and closing down 3 “compassionate care centers” in Grants Pass that had been selling medical pot to OMMP card holders.  OSP Lieutenant Darin Lux said, “We’re trying to enforce the law on the books.  Sometimes it isn’t cheap.  We don’t let that dissuade us from conducting business.”
There are so many laws on the books that police cannot enforce them all equally; they should stick to those that are necessary.  We got along well enough for thousands of years without banning cannabis, which was once mandated to be grown.  Our cops are apparently more interested in arresting pot sellers than thieves, because the feds pay them to arrest pot sellers, skewing the priorities of our police.  The federal government is paying our cops to persecute us with borrowed money; we already owe over $100,000 per citizen on the national debt.  Because of that borrowed subsidy, 50 officers were taken away for a full work day from enforcement of laws against theft, vandalism, and littering, among other evils that they could be stopping.
If we want our cops to stick to the business of necessary evil, this Board and all interested citizens should ask the Legislature to pass the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012, which would put pot under the same kind of rules as liquor in Oregon.  While it would retain the OMMP, it would end the in-state black market in pot with all of its evils.  The evils of Mexican gangs growing weed in remote areas of our state for the national black market won’t stop until the rest of the nation follows, but one state has to start the ball rolling.  Oregon is good at that. 

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stop the Nonsense! Marijuana Speech #24

24th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners,1-12-2011 
Last Friday night, I heard a report on KDRV Channel 12 ( ) that two bills had been introduced in the legislature that would require drug testing for public assistance in Oregon. I went looking for bill numbers and more details, and found them on in a piece by Jennifer Alexander (Two bills in Oregon legislature to require drug testing for ... ) . I found summaries but not the full text on the legislature's website.
The first, SB 538 by Senator Bruce Starr of Hillsboro, would require drug testing for all public assistance, including unemployment, not just welfare and food stamps as reported on KDRV, who reported that recipients would have to pay for the tests. It would deny public assistance to anyone who tests positive for a "drug of abuse;" it does not appear to include a treatment option to receive assistance.
The second bill, HB 2995, introduced by Representative Dennis Richardson of Central Point, would apply only to unemployment compensation. It provides that anyone who tests positive would be offered treatment, and would deny those who refuse. I can't tell if it requires one to pay for the test and/or treatment.
Citizens, please call these gentlemen, and remind them that we didn't give Republicans exactly half the House because we love their social policies or the drug war, and that they should stop reminding us why we gave Democrats control in the previous session. Their seats might be safe; other Republicans are not. I don't normally give out phone numbers, but Starr's Salem office number is 503-986-1715; Richardson's is 503-986-1404.
While you are at it, please talk to them about passing the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012, and call up your local representative and senator as well, or write them an e-mail. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are available on the web; search for the Oregon legislature.
This Act will take the most widely used illegal drug out of the "drug of abuse" category and at the same time save us from the corruption caused by medical marijuana and the black market that it preserves. In the process, it will create an entire new legal industry with legal employment for growers, processors, and sellers. It will stop our teenagers from becoming pot dealers and being ruined for real work. It will allow all adults to grow their own pot and reduce the price of commercial pot drastically, leaving more money in the legal economy. And it will save our law enforcement resources for real criminals like thieves, while eliminating the violence and theft associated with the marijuana black market and the medical privilege.
This Board should also talk to the legislature, by passing A Resolution Regarding Marijuana. At the very least, tell these gentlemen to stop the nonsense, and stop threatening the assistance that keeps our businesses alive in this recession.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

A New Cannabis Tax Act: Marijuana Speech #22

22nd speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, June 18th, 2010.  

My apologies to this Board and the County for not bringing this matter up two months ago, when the new petitions came out for the Cannabis Tax Act 2010.  Only about 2 weeks remain in the petitioning season, but it is not too late to do your part.
I am petitioning for the Cannabis Tax Act at the Growers’ Market’s Southwest entrance on 4th Street every Saturday from about 9:30 to 11:30 AM, and then on 6th and G at my regular No More Drug War protest from noon to 2 PM.  I also have petitions to repeal the latest gas tax hike, and for All-Non-Partisan Elections in Oregon.
Unlike the previous version of this Act, the state will be selling marijuana in state cannabis stores rather than state liquor stores.  The liquor stores no doubt objected, because where pot is more available, liquor is less used, and having cheap weed in the same stores with heavily taxed liquor would definitely cut into their more lucrative business.
Some people are put off by the “Tax Act” portion of the name, and I have to admit that it is a bit of a misnomer; it actually allows state profit on sale of marijuana.  Rather than a set percentage of the price or so much per ounce, the state will be making whatever profit it can off the sale of its marijuana in state cannabis stores while competing with the relatively cheap homegrown that anyone over 21 will be able to grow for personal use.  After a few years, the state may find that it cannot compete with homegrown pot, any more than it can compete in the tomato market, and will close the state cannabis stores and allow sale of marijuana in other stores, as it does with cigarettes.
Do you want teenagers to stop being our pot dealers and get their weed from adults, rather than vice-versa?   Then you should support this Act.  Do you want to stop sick people from getting rich off the rest of us with their present medical privilege?  Then you should support this Act.  Do you want the police to concentrate on catching thieves, rather than weeding the forest and busting farmers?  Then you should support this Act.  Do you want more money freed from the black market and Mexican gangs and spent in legitimate stores, lifting the entire economy?  Then you should support this Act. 
There is now a measure heading to the ballot which would allow cannabis dispensaries; it would only continue the problematic system of medical privilege that creates so much corruption.  I ask this Board to ask the legislature to pass the 2010 Cannabis Tax Act, or to put it on the ballot, so we can at least have a better choice in November.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

The People Are Way Ahead Of You: Marijuana Speech #21

21 st speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, December 30, 2009.    

Another reason you should pass A Resolution Regarding Marijuana, urging the legislature to pass the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, is that the people are way ahead of you on this issue.  In a democracy, it is proper that the people lead and their public servants follow, but the public servants really shouldn’t fall too far behind public opinion.
When it comes to marijuana, the people have had to drag their public servants along kicking and screaming.  In both Arizona and Oregon, medical marijuana had to be passed twice before the politicians stopped calling the voters idiots while trying to gut their voter-passed initiatives. 
In this state, there are politicians who are still trying to go backwards on this issue, like Rep. Ron Maurer, who wants to put all pot growing on state-owned farms and supply pharmacies through them, saying that pot will then be as well controlled as other prescription drugs—as though prescription drugs are well controlled.
But Rafael Caso, our county’s main drug crime prosecutor says, "Either [marijuana] needs to be legalized or make it completely illegal. Where it is now, it creates litigation."  (Apparently he has no problem with laws that create persecution.)  This medical privilege does not work for law enforcement; it’s no fun enforcing rules that don’t work for anyone.
Still, others, notable Voter Power and marijuana clinics, are pushing the Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System, which would retain the current problematic system of medical privilege and its thriving black market, and tack on state-licensed growers and special medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, on the other hand, would repeal all state laws regarding marijuana, including the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, and replace them with state-licensed growers and processors, who would sell to the renamed Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Control Commission, which would sell graded weed to pharmacies at cost and in state liquor stores at whatever price the legal market could bear.  This would be a good deal less than the black market price, because the OCTA would also allow growing for personal use, just as we do with liquor production.    No special system of dispensaries would be needed, and Oregon’s domestic black market would be gone.
We don’t need tweaks to the current problematic medical privilege, and we don’t need to take giant steps backward.  As James Bowman said in the Courier, “Cannabis is like a wrongly-convicted felon that has been in prison for 40 years and needs to be set free.”  This Act is more like parole in a half-way house, but please help free God’s green herb, and pass this Resolution, asking the legislature to pass the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

Support Your Local Sheriff: Marijuana Speech #20

20 th speech in this series to the Josephine County Commissioners, November 25, 2009.  

Another reason you should pass A Resolution Regarding Marijuana, urging the legislature to pass the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, is that this is a fast-moving issue, and you ought to give the legislature your support for a better idea before they do something that will only prolong our troubles with weed.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act was 2008’s Measure 28, but it never made the ballot, because hardly anyone, including me, bothered to read it; it was a presidential election year.  The legislature is currently considering this year’s Measure 28, which is not half so ambitious; it would only tweak our medical marijuana system, retaining the medical privilege that is so problematic for law enforcement, and unjust for the rest of us.
Last Thursday, an AP article appeared in the Oregonian, headlined, “Former US Attorney favors drug law review.”  John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, has joined the chorus of ex-cops, former prosecutors, retired judges, and even some currently office-holding officials like Sheriff Richard Mack and Congressman Ron Paul, calling for major changes in our drug laws, particularly regarding marijuana.
McKay appeared at a recent panel discussion of drug laws, where he and others decried the lack of courage on the part of legislators and other elected officials, who are afraid of being labeled “soft on crime” if they favor repealing “stupid laws,” as McKay called the laws banning cannabis.  He said that pot should be treated a lot more like liquor, and a lot less like heroin and meth.
Not all of our local elected officials are cowards on this issue.  At last Tuesday’s meeting of the John Birch Society, our Sheriff, Gil Gilbertson, told us, “Marijuana should be treated just like liquor.”  The crowd, a room full of our local constitutional conservatives, applauded loudly.
Our elected officials should stop being afraid of being labeled “soft-on-crime” and start fearing being called “stupid-on-crime.”  The people have come to realize that there is only so much money available for law enforcement, and that laws against personal habits interfere with enforcing laws against real crime—especially when the state and feds subsidize the enforcement of stupid laws, but not of real laws against theft and assault.
We are soon going to have to pay for our own law enforcement in this county.  It would be easier to get the voters to give the Sheriff and DA money if they had fewer stupid laws to distract them from the business of fighting real crime.  Please ask the legislature to start by passing the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, so our many pot users and growers can sleep easier at night, knowing that the cops are not going after them.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040