EARLY ON A SUNDAY MORNING is hardly the time you want to be standing on a street corner in heavy rain waiting for a BoltBus, but that's where I found myself two weekends ago. I was heading to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference in Eugene, and my aforementioned status should negate the tired theory that stoners are lazy and unmotivated.
Ahead of me were two days at the Eugene Hilton, taking the pulse of Oregon's existing medical marijuana program and the emerging recreational one. I sat through speeches and Q&A sessions with panelists, checked out the numerous vendor booths, traded business cards with dozens of other attendees, and caught Del the Funky Homosapien (AKA Deltron 3030) at a pizza parlor. And while everyone was well informed, smart, and supportive on the issues at hand, I walked away with more impressions and fun factoids than I did solid answers. Which isn't anyone's fault—it's simply a reflection of where we are in this still-developing industry.
Keynote speaker Gary Johnson (former Republican governor of New Mexico, presidential candidate, and longtime advocate for legalization) now heads up his own cannabis-infused edibles company. His enthusiasm was apparent, and he had some interesting information. (I didn't know that there are still 50 people in prison for life in the United States because of cannabis, according to Johnson. Or that in Colorado, edibles account for nearly 45 percent of the recreational market sales.)
Another politician provided the most relevant information. State Senator Floyd Prozanski (D—Eugene) is the vice chair of the Joint Committee to Implement Measure 91 (AKA the "Joint Joint Committee"). He said that after the feedback sessions the Oregon Liquor Control Commission held statewide this year, there are new discussions about establishing residency requirements for out-of-state investors and whether taxes should be paid by the growers or the retailers. He said to also expect tighter regulations on the labs that test cannabis.
But many other questions went unanswered. Will I be able to open a club or lounge where people of legal age can consume cannabis? Will I be able to make butane hash oil (BHO) in my home?
The answer is that no one knows. Things are being proposed and discussed, but very little has been decided for certain. A lawyer I spoke with said there are now more than 20 lobbyists working on Measure 91 in Salem, representing a variety of groups with opposing viewpoints and goals.
So in lieu of any definitive conclusions, here's my "I learned something today" takeaway: Stay involved and informed. If you live in Oregon, how Measure 91 will be implemented is going to affect you. Follow legislative updates on Measure 91 at https://olis.leg.state.or.us and contact your representatives (look 'em up at oregonlegislature.gov) to support or oppose upcoming legislation. It won't take any longer than rolling a good joint, and with the right strain, you can do it while high. Ask your family, friends, and weed dealer to do the same. Then take action before taking a bong hit.