Have a seat. We want to talk with you about pot.
In November, Oregonians are going to have a shot at legalizing recreational marijuana for the second time in two years. It wasn't a particularly clean march to the ballot. Infighting between rivaling factions in the legalization movement helped torpedo one effort, and continues even though there's only one contender remaining. But polling suggests the public is ready to embrace legal weed, and New Approach Oregon, the campaign that's backing the ballot measure, seems to have the financial firepower to bring the thing home.
That said, you should be asking questions. Sure, Washington and Colorado haven't collapsed under legal weed, but there are still tough realities there, and Oregon's got its own unique circumstances.
So, like I say, come talk to us about pot.
As part of an occasional partnership with the Bus Project, the Mercury's co-sponsoring one of our delightful Brewhaha forums next Tuesday on recreational marijuana. It will take place at the Green Dragon, of course, and will feature exciting, informed guests who can answer all your pressing concerns.
•How much a gram, bro?
•Is it Kind?
•There's a disturbing history—in Oregon and around the country—of minorities being disproportionately targeted for marijuana crimes. Your campaign purports to help solve this, but even your own studies concede that the black market will dominate pot sales if marijuana is legal in Oregon. Will we see reduced disparity, or will it remain static—even increase—as well-to-do types embrace the more expensive legal market, and those lower on the socioeconomic ladder keep on keepin' on?
Other things you'd be reasonable to ask:
Will there be beer? Hell yes there will be beer. Sixty-two taps' worth.
What about those guests you mentioned? Check it:
•Becky Straus, legislative director at the ACLU of Oregon
•Liz Kaufman, campaign director for New Approach Oregon
•Brian Budz, co-owner of New Vansterdam, one of Vancouver's two recreational pot shops
How about the moderator? Yours truly, slinging heat rocks (questions and bad jokes).
I'm not going to pay to come see you act like a jerk. Don't have to. It's free. (Not the foodstuffs/beverages, though.)
Show up, grab a beer, talk about weed, and be a conscientious civic actor all in one. This is an exciting opportunity. We'll see you Tuesday.