The United States Constitution was signed on September 17th 1787 to make us the most liberated and liberal self governing modern society of that time. With that document our forefathers separated us from thousands of years of monarchy and theocracy that had governed the great human societies since a senator named Caesar turned the last great republic into an empire. The Greeks were the last democracy, and I say last because the Constitution did not give us a democracy. The Constitution gave us a republic, whose representatives were to be chosen by every white, male, land owning citizen. A republic whose taxes and legislative delegations were apportioned in respect to the total population of citizens and three fifths of all owned African slaves. Yes that was progressive, when you considered the rest of the world was still debating whether divine mandate came from birthright or papal decree. Like any legislative victory; the United States Constitution is a mixed bag of good and bad.
On July 1st 2015 recreational cannabis users gained our freedoms in the state of Oregon; some terms and conditions may apply. Upon its passage adults over the age of 21 were legally allowed to use cannabis; on private property, away from the public view and minors. It was embarrassing enough that a state, which had always led the way on cannabis reform, was playing catch up to Colorado; home of the defense industry and the evangelical movement, now we had, for some reason, passed a law that regulated cannabis the way Utah would like to regulate sex.
Again landowners are the only ones with real rights. If you rent, it is not up to you whether you smoke in your residence or not; it’s up to your landlord. Cue the Three’s Company theme music. The state law also doesn’t allow renters to grow their four recreational plants; even if it did the new regulations on collectives would make any multi-family housing that allowed residents to grow subject to state inspections.
As that last statement indicates where the voters have left matters to the legislature the legislature has taken it upon themselves to restrict in the subtlest ways. See the legislature knows full well, that growing cannabis use to be illegal. In knowing that they can assume many of the people who would have the best experience to apply to working in a large scale grow operation will have criminal records. Which means few collectives would be able to remain open under regular state inspection. They didn’t ban collectives or mandate that all medical patients, who don’t own their own land and thus can’t grow their own pot, use the dispensaries. They just made it harder for patients to come to arrangements with a grower and made people who needed that arrangement (since OHP doesn’t cover OMMP costs) unable to find it. Oddly enough, it is those who could easily afford dispensary prices, who are best suited to entice a grower.
Not content to use new regulations in order to stifle the cannabis community, Oregon’s courts and legislatures stand ready to teach old laws to be new dicks. Such is the case of using a workplace smoking ban, which already makes exceptions for hookah bars and cigar shops, to keep cannabis enthusiasts from being able to meet and socialize in a neutral public setting. This has already led to the shutdown of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe and failing to swiftly amend the law discourages new business and local investment. Not only will making a cannabis club exemption create businesses as thriving as our bar scene and give potheads less reasons to smoke in the park (not saying it will stop entirely; drum circles happen) but because of hotel smoking regulations, you make cannabis tourism illegal if you don’t allow smoking clubs/cafes.
I am not saying it is horrible to be in a legal state. I like that if I don’t have enough cash on hand to make it worth getting my delivery guy out to the end of the Oregon Trail, I can stop off at the dispensary for a gram (or this $25 eighth of Full Circle that is kicking my ass; Thanks Little Amsterdam) I don’t like that the state has made it harder for patients to connect with growers and for growers to combine their resources and legitimize their skills. I don’t like that state aid programs and county services still disregard cannabis industry employment. Until we have testing that can prove intoxication we need to stop persecuting people who test positive for metabolizing (I wish the high lasted three weeks) Oregon, the fight is not over. Measure 91 gave us our freedom; now we have to fight for our rights.
I am not sure how long you have to struggle to get your own bars but if other disenfranchised groups are any marker; about 100 years after we do, potheads will be free to marry who we want and use public restrooms. God Bless America