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|All Photos by Charlie Bott|
By Charlie Bott
Toke of the Town
For the second consecutive year, Mad Scientist from Ray Bowser and Homegrown Natural Wonders took First Place Overall at the 11th annual Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards (OMCA).
Second Place went to Grand Daddy Purple grown by Greg Bennett and Grape Ape grown by Jason Breazeale of Farmageddon came in Third. The ceremony was held on Saturday, December 15, and held at the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland, which also sponsors the annual event.
“It’s good to see that now there are medical cannabis contests in many medical marijuana states, but we were there first,” said Madeline Martinez, owner of the Cafe and chief organizer of the event. “Eleven years ago we got the idea that we didn’t want to have to go to Amsterdam to judge cannabis, especially when so much of the medicine we grow here in Oregon is world class, as this year’s judges know very well!”
|Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards|
The Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards (OMCA) will be held on Saturday, December 15, at the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland. The day event, from noon until 5 p.m., includes a variety of vendors, seminars and speakers and is open to the public.
An awards banquet — which starts at 6:30 p.m. — is where the winners are announced. Todd Armstrong, a local comedian who is gaining national acclaim, will be the master of ceremonies, and it all takes place at 322 SE 82nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97216.
In a blind taste test, judges are given 28 samples of Oregon’s finest medical cannabis to sample and judge in the privacy of their own homes (I need in on this gig). They score each strain on appearance, aroma, taste, smoothness, potency and medicinal effect. Judging is open to registered Oregon Medical Marijuana patients only.
LEAP Cites Public Safety Concerns Created by Illegal Marketplace
A former narcotics cop on Tuesday morning delivered a letter signed by 73 current and former police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him not to interfere with the wishes of the voters of Colorado and Washington State to legalize and regulate marijuana.
“We seem to be at a turning point in how our society deals with marijuana,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the group that authored the letter. “The war on marijuana has funded the expansion of drug cartels, it has destroyed community-police relations and it has fostered teenage use by creating an unregulated market where anyone has easy access.
A new study out by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness finds that marijuana legalization and taxation in Oregon, Washington or Colorado would significantly weaken Mexican drug cartels. The study, which has been covered in leading national and international news outlets including Forbes and The New York Times, affirms similar recent findings by the leading think tank, the RAND Corporation.
At a press conference Friday morning in downtown Portland, former and current police and probation officers, corrections guards, and defense attorneys will address the findings of the report and discuss how Measure 80 will improve Oregon’s public safety.
|Vets Helping Vets|
Every day in America, 18 military veterans commit suicide. The United States has lost more military service-members and veterans to suicide than to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Oregon is home to an estimated 300,000 veterans, including more than 20,000 from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, according to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. A 2008 Rand Corporation study found nearly 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan vets reported PTSD symptoms.
Currently, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program does not recognize or allow for access to cannabis to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Therefore, Oregon military veterans who suffer from PTSD cannot access medical marijuana.
Joining civil-rights organizations like the NAACP and labor organizations like United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) has officially endorsed Measure 80.
“Oregon is now engaged in a great debate across the public safety spectrum to seek and adopt rational evidence-based policies that will make our state and people safer,” said Lane Borg, OCDLA president. “The evidence in this case supports that a common-sense, sane drug policy would end the futile prohibition on cannabis and instead adopt a rational regulation policy that hopefully would end the dangerous conditions brought on by both illegal trafficking and aggressive enforcement in the war on drugs.”
Continuing the momentum of local and national support for common-sense cannabis policy in Oregon, Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) has officially endorsed Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act. Buckley joins an expanding list of political and community leaders around Oregon and the nation calling for an end to America’s catastrophic war on drugs.
“It makes absolutely no sense to me that we continue to waste millions of dollars every year to prohibit adults from making the choice of whether to consume marijuana, especially when we could be regulating and taxing that market and funding the programs we’ve been cutting session after session,” said Rep. Buckley, co-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. “Oregon is a pioneer state, and I for one want us to make history this November by ending prohibition and regulating marijuana just like we regulate liquor.”
|Measure 80 – The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act
Adding to the chorus of political and community leaders around Oregon and the nation that is calling for an end to America’s catastrophic War On Drugs, Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard has officially endorsed Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.
|Portland Community College|
|Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard: “Regulating and taxing marijuana for adults is just common sense”|
“As a career Portland firefighter, a State Legislator and a Portland City Council member, I have always fought for funding for our first responders and resources for our social safety net,” Leonard said. “Regulating and taxing marijuana for adults is just common sense, because it allows us to get pot out of kids’ hands, focus our public-safety resources on dangerous drugs, creates jobs and provide a new revenue stream to fund much-needed social services.”
According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, Oregon has spent more than $60 million a year on marijuana-related offenses, from local police enforcement costs to court-room costs to the millions spent on incarceration.
Measure 80 would replace a failed system of prohibition with an effective taxation-and-regulation model. While adults 21 and older would be able to purchase cannabis products only at state-licensed stores, Measure 80 introduces tough new criminal penalties, such as felony charges for selling cannabis to a minor, and criminal misdemeanor charges for providing cannabis to a minor.
|Campaign For The Restoration and Regulation of Hemp|
Late Friday afternoon, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office certified Initiative 9, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which will appear as Measure 80 on the Oregon ballot in November.
“Today is an historic day for Oregon and for the national movement for common-sense marijuana policy,” said Paul Stanford, chief petitioner. “Oregon’s long had an independent streak and led the nation on policies that benefit the public good. Regulating marijuana and restoring the hemp industry is in that tradition of independent, pragmatic governance.”
Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, would regulate cannabis (marijuana) for adults 21 years of age and older, with commercial sales only through state-licensed stores. Ninety percent of tax revenue, estimated at more than $140 million annually, would go to the state’s battered general fund.