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Oregon Prepares for More Medical Marijuana Ballot MeasuresJoy Graves Salem-News.com
In 1937, a law titled "The Marihuana Tax Act" initiated the degree of confusion and inexcusable embarrassment for cannabis...
(EUGENE, OR) - Because Oregon was first "founded" on Valentine's Day, February 14th, in the year 1859, obviously it was being governed by what's known to be "federal law", which in regards to the plant cannabis, was that it had to be grown by all farmers period, and that their taxes had to be paid with it or else they were fined and thrown into jail. Yes, you heard me right, your forefathers my dear brothers and sisters were in fact growing cannabis, which at the time they called "Indian hemp seed", as required by law, if they were doing any kind of commercial farming at all regardless of what their primary focal crop would be, else they were law breaking convicts and were fined and arrested, plain and simple, end of story period!
The law of the land would remain that way until what's known as "the law of disaster" occurred in August of 1937. This law titled "The Marihuana Tax Act" initiated the degree of confusion and inexcusable embarrassment for the cannabis family throughout all the tens of thousands of years it's peacefully existed. Fact went out the window, and slang and propaganda became replacement facts with no decency, courtesy, foundation or consequence as it was written into this, America's still effective yet ill-written law.
Cutting through the crap and misconception ever-so-swiftly, it deems and re-names cannabis sativa "Marihuana" as a term of pure disrespect, and then outlaws all but her stalks, stems and roots, which basically means she can no longer legally grow much-less strive for the maturity cycle given her - she cannot grow without her leaves, and her point to grow is to produce beautifully exquisite flowers, and to procreate via her seed via the pollination of her hairs. Sativa's siblings Indica & Rudrailis were excluded and had no law ever written nor pertaining to them as did they to sativa right here bless their hearts, but they too suffered too as if there were because of the family connection, wrongful, detrimental and illegal as it was and continues to be and gotten away with.
Despite there being a brief window where the federal government encouraged and defied it's own position of the 1937 law during World War 2, when it freely handed out and plead with our nations farmers to grow it again for our war efforts sake in the early 1940's, this mistake still remains official federal stand-point and law, but only since 1996 forward have you really seen them go out of their way to utilize and apply it, as we the people turn it around ourselves on the state law level.
Oregon was the very first state in the nation to decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of cannabis on a personal level which was done in the year 1973, the year this reporter was born, and the year our Hemperor would make his first public début as an expert on the subject. Two years later, other states began individually following Oregon's lead, and by 1978 10 states counting Oregon had taken the position within their laws in all, standing in direct opposition with the federal government's position regarding cannabis sativa as far as consequence for what was deemed personal use far as state law was concerned.
Oregon's next legal move regarding cannabis would come in the form of Ballot Measure 67 in the year 1998, known as the Medical Cannabis law at the dictation and approval of Hemperor Herer, founder of what's called "The Modern Day Cannabis Movement". The "Oregon Medical Marihuana Act" (OMMA) was passed Oregonian's with 54.6% of the citizens vote and has proven beneficial as well as successful overall every since, even bailing out the state's deficit budget on at least two different accounts thus far single-handedly solving the state's otherwise hardship.
What this OMMA did was modify Oregon's state law to allow the possession, use and even the cultivation of cannabis by the state citizens whom qualified to use it according to their doctor's opinion that it may help alleviate if not heal their health ailments. Furthermore upon it's text review, it was the OMMP (the state program) whom implemented "limits", thereby forcing the disposal of the now deemed "excess", and encouraging that it be done by way of transaction of the cannabis between those whom need and benefit that are sanctioned to utilize it, though remains gray thus far as to how other than an implementation noting grower financial compensation allowance, implying the ole bartering "legal tender" as in the Jamestown law initially.
Though you should note, the OMMA or any such state acts of law can nor even put forth effort to try to protect nor excuse the ill patients from federal law, which still prohibits the cultivation and possession of cannabis, in fact the phrase "Medical" cannot be uttered in a federal court proceeding by a user of cannabis at all still to this date, despite that thus far 18 individual states have sanctioned medicinal use and has Washington D.C. as well. But thankfully unlike most states, Oregon authorities aka paid employees of the state are not allowed to involve nor seek federal prosecution against state residents in compliance with the OMMA and the OMMP either, no exceptions.
In 2004 self proclaimed cannabis activist groups in Oregon sought to extend the law by mandating distribution centers, aka canna-business store front dispensaries for the first time anywhere ever in the U.S. with an initiative known as "OMMA 2", aka "Measure 33. Introduced by the "Voter Power Foundation of Oregon" and Madelyn Martinez in representation of NORML, with their sights set on profiteering, or in federal terms "trafficking", their goal would have created legal canna-business under the umbrella of the OMMA law by allowing state licensed cannabis dispensaries open under the guise of helping the medicinal patients allowed to possess and use cannabis in exchange for high priced "special licensing" and of course tax generation for the state.
OMMA 2 would have required that if entrepreneurs such as them, after six months of the measure's passage could not corner the state's demand for market entirely, that if a county lacked a dispensary, the county health division would have be expected to dispense cannabis medication also, but ultimately that the county were expected to provide as well as regulate licensing to open and operate cannabis dispensary businesses and govern as well as exercise dominion meaning control, authority and dictation over all dispensaries regardless. The dispensaries granted licensing would have been required to establish a system that would provide cannabis to indigent patients for free which of course sounded great to the patients in need, but unrealistic otherwise especially as far as the state financing and goals of profit were concerned.
OMMA 2 also suggested increasing the maximum amount of cannabis that patients could possess and cultivate to a more logical and feasible number, which was 3 big and 4 little plants and an ounce per big plant in usable "medication" to 6 big plants, 18 small ones, and 6 pounds of cannabis per patient opposed to the limits at the time which was far greater than that sanctioned by the state via OMMP card. Oregon voters however wisely rejected the measure, with 57.2% against the initiative foreseeing problems in it's text and federal repercussions on it's states sickly whom didn't need the problems, which proved to have kept the fed for the most part at bay - and the program grows onward.
In 2005, the Oregon Legislature decided to take it upon themselves to pass a law known as "Senate Bill 1085" without the need of voter say much-less their need for approval, and so this became the newest twist to cannabis law in Oregon to take effect as of January 1, 2006. This bill raised the quantity of cannabis for the state's authorized patients to possess from seven plants (the three/ four rule mentioned above) and the three ounces of cannabis to six mature cannabis plants, 18 immature seedlings, and 24 ounces, meaning a pound and a half of usable cannabis per individual patient sanctioned.
SB 1085 also changed the penalty for exceeding the amount allowed for state-qualified patients from having been up to this point, physician excusable, to exceeding the limitations now not being able to exceed the possession limits at all period, no excuses nor exceptions, which conflicts with "the spirit of OMMA" but has remained unchallenged thus far.
The new guidelines also took away the patients ability to argue an "affirmative defense" of medical necessity at trial if they exceed the allowed number of plants or if they had yet to attain an OMMP card acknowledging them as a sanctioned patient which the voter passed text had allowed.
A woman named Donna Nelson is on record for having introduced a bill in the 2007 Oregon legislative session which would have prohibited state law enforcement officials from using medical cannabis while being employed by the state. Fortunately for our employees in pain seeking cannabis medicinally as well, this was quickly squashed out and gotten rid of and never went into effect or received much if any knowledge or attention.
Then in 2008, Kevin Mannix whom is a former state legislator as well as a former governor candidate circulated an initiative petition that would have asked Oregon voters to "scale back" the OMMA law of 1998. Fortunately again for Oregon's ailing, this effort too proved unsuccessful and it fizzled away without causing any damage.
Oregon legislature passed SB 728 in August 2009, which by doing so directed the Board Of Pharmacy (BOP) to reclassify "Marihuana", aka cannabis sativa (remember), out from Schedule I and ultimately placed her into to Schedule II, acknowledging medicinal value and benefit and lowering penalties for possessing small amounts despite the federal stand-point and or position as far as a legal state consequence is concerned.
Though this has been done, it's all that has been done as far as what's supposed to come of such a change in legal stand-point & position - first, it should by all-rights now be being dispensed by state regulated pharmacies as are all other substances under the schedule 2 scheduling, but has yet to even near such an overly-needed option for patients, and second, it should be treated as less of a priority offense overall when it come to law enforcement encounters on a state level. Finally, health insurance should be covering some of it's cost according to definition as well, which would help patients ability to afford to access it.
Also in 2009 in addition to the re-scheduling milestone step, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed SB 676 into law permitting "Industrial" cannabis cultivation as well, both small but beneficial steps toward cannabis liberation justification. The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 46 to 11 and the Senate by a vote of 27 to 2, permits the production, trade and possession of "industrial hemp commodities and products" so long as the crop has been genetically dumbed down to a nil-zero THC level, eliminating the medicinal qualities of industrially grown plants.
Many Oregon-based companies have been on the leading edge of the growing hemp food and body care markets since Hemperor Herer first forced back the commercial sales of cannabis's industrial products more than 40 years ago, which are currently estimated by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) to be about if not above $113 million in North American annual retail sales alone. The HIA reports with pride, that the 2008 annual retail sales of all "hemp products" (meaning Non medical industrial uses) in North America alone to be approximately $360 million dollars just in itself and still being grossly hindered.
In 2010, another Oregon measure sought to provide access to medical cannabis for patients through licensed and regulated non-profit dispensaries again surfaced, this time under the title of "Measure 74". If passed, in addition to canna-business as far as plant sales on a commercial level, it claimed that it would have funded medical research as well as establish a program to assist low-income patients. Excess funds would have helped to finance Oregon health programs, but ultimately too, this attempt failed and nothing ever came of it meaning Measure 74 did not pass into law in Oregon either.
Then came House Bill 3371, known as the "Control, Regulation and Taxation of Cannabis Act" was introduced by the House Committee for consideration on a state level. The bill would legalize the possession of "up to 6 plants per qualified & sanctioned person, and 24 ounces (a pound and a half) of cannabis "on the premises of non-commercial home grows". The bill would also direct various state agencies to regulate, control, and tax canna-business with a tax set at $35 an ounce. Cannabis commerce would include "edibles" aka "Medibles" and likely also tinctures, extracts and other various preparations as time progresses forward as well. Keep in mind though that his was introduced in 2010 by the government, bypasses the Oregon voter and citizen completely, and yet remains undecided by state government at the present time despite it being their own agenda.
Measure 80 was the next bill to actually reach consideration on a voter election level as far as cannabis in Oregon is concerned. Measure 80 was introduced by long time Oregon cannabis freedom fighter Mr. Paul Stanford, founder of "The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation" (THCF) throughout as well as beyond the boundaries of the state of Oregon, and figure-head of the annual Portland Hempstalk cannabis protestival housed at Kelly Point Park in Oregon as tradition. Stanford, along with proclaimed cannabis activist Madelyn Martinez, whom is the now former but at the time director of the "Oregon NORML Chapter" turned proprietor of the self-proclaimed "World Famous Cannabis Café" were the two proponents presenting the bill to Oregon voters.
Measure 80 would have allowed adult Oregon residents 21 years and older to possess unlimited quantities of cannabis, and would impose limits of 24 plants as well as possession of a pound and a half (24 ounces) of dried, ready to use cannabis on a personal level without legal consequence. Measure 80 asked for these contradictory things in exchange for taxation to be implemented on all cannabis sales and would have sanctioned canna-business to legally dispense on an official store-front level despite their saying nothing in the current text of the OMMA that says whether they can or can't. Measure 80 crashed but barely burned in the polls by 53% of Oregonians being against the initiative, mainly because of how it was written and too because it was poorly funded.
In 2013, Oregon still faces the state government's HB 3371 as a possible step regarding the Oregon cannabis position in law, but who knows when if ever it will ever be reviewed - it has been sitting stagnantly for a few years now after all. But additionally however, cannabis crusader Paul Stanford is back in the ring again unwilling to wait, introducing two separate legal cannabis initiative proposals just so far this month, and has also filed three additional proposals that would spell constitutional amendments on other subjects involving cannabis in state law as well. I dare anyone to say Paul Stanford is no cannabis crusader!
The first in addition to the ballot initiatives themselves on Stanford's plate, is called the "State Bank of Oregon Amendment" which Stanford proposes the creation of an Oregon State Bank which would invest its cannabis profiteering funds exclusively within the state bank account amendment;
Stanford's second proposal is called the "Natural Individual Rights Initiative", which would grant individuals more rights than corporations, including the right to privacy;
and his third, is called the "Genome Protection Amendment", which would impose more restrictions on the corporate and commercial use of genetic material, specifying that individuals own their own cannabis DNA, and that "all genetic code is open source data which, subject to personal privacy, shall be shared for the benefit of all."
Though only time will tell and persistence of knowledge and education is proceeded, one way or another Oregon just may be the first to come full circle and be the one to push for complete cannabis family liberation once and for all on a state level - or follow the greed and move to tax and regulate "marihuana", leaving cannabis sativa separated by law from her siblings & subject to unjustified dictation and consequence for a few more years to come after all.
Joy Maxine Graves, published author, cannabis reporter and photographer is best known for her involvement as a Cannabis Freedom Fighting Activist. Joy has shown herself to be quite the trooper when it comes to fighting for as well as defending Truth, Justice & Honor, for protecting the "weaker guy", and for standing her ground when faced with nothing but hate and diversity. As the #2 most beloved personal "Jack's Girl" to the Emperor of Hemp himself (Jack Herer, RIP) for more than 13 years, which is how Salem-News.com encountered her by the way, we soon-after couldn't help but to noticed her flare for photography as well as her knack with people, and she has become a valuable part of the Salem-News team.
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