COME OCTOBER 1, dispensaries for Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholders will be allowed to sell a quarter ounce of cannabis to all adults 21 and over. Earlier this week, Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill to put the proposal into action. You won't be able to buy concentrates, edibles, or topicals until next year, but it will be a great start.
Before we start celebrating—and from the smells I catch on the sidewalk, some of you already have—let's remember that we are still navigating a labyrinth of confusing and contradictory laws and fears.
A perfect example of this cropped up when the Mercury and I were putting together Oregon's first legal-weed giveaway, Weed the People. I called a number of vaporizer manufacturers, explained the event to them, and asked if they would be willing to participate by providing a number of their units for us to use. In turn, we would distribute info on their vaporizers, and attendees would get hands-on experience using them loaded with actual cannabis. You cannot mail-order a vaporizer, try it out, and then return it. Nor can you walk into your local head shop with a fat sack and ask to give it a whirl on one of the units on the shelf. I figured this would be a slam dunk.
The first incredulous response I received was something along the lines of: "So you guys are going to give away weed and then let people consume it using our vaporizers?"
"That's right," I replied. "As of July 1, it's legal for adults in Oregon to do so."
A long pause.
"Look, it's a great idea, don't get me wrong," the vape rep explained in the tone one uses when preparing to break up with someone. "But we wouldn't be interested in having our products associated with such an event."
"May I ask why?"
"We have our products made in China, and when they arrive at the ports, we have issues if the feds think they are for use with marijuana. Our stock could be delayed or even seized if the products are associated with drug use."
"But you advertise in High Times, and on websites that are canna-centric..." I stammered.
"Yes, but we always list in small print [very small print—Eds.] that these products are meant to be used with tobacco only and not for illegal use."
"But it's not illegal in Oregon for adults to use cannabis," I reasoned.
"Riiiiiiiight. But if a photo got back to the Feds of our products being used by your attendees with cannabis, we could take a devastating financial hit by having the Feds seize our incoming stock."
A long pause.
"Tell you what—what if I send you some of our products to use, but you don't credit us, or tell anyone about us, and just, like, keep them," said the rep. "We'll gift them to you, and what you use them for is your business."
"Man, I'm gonna use them for weed."
"Don't tell me that!"
We've come a long way, but in some instances, legal cannabis is still a don't ask, don't tell proposition.