I recently attended the THC Fair in Bend along with the Dope Cup in Portland Oregon.

While there I got to hear a lot about how the OLCC is affecting cannabusinesses and learn about how business owners perceive the actions. I talked to dozens of merchants but one theme kept coming up: the upcoming election and corresponding vote.

Cannabusinesses in rural Oregon are worried about many of the measures coming up on the November 8th ballot. Oregon passed measure 91 in 2014, making it the 4th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Measure 91 took effect in July of 2015 and early recreational sales began. Some cities and towns opted-out of the new law (mostly rural areas did) while others decided they needed another vote.

Two municipalities that have sent recreational cannabis back to the people for another vote is Jefferson County and the city of Madras. In 2014, there was a huge campaign working to educate the public and encourage passing the measure. There is none of that now and literally every city and county measure for Jefferson County and the City of Madras is seeking to ban or tax cannabis.

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 I headed over to Central Organics to talk with the crew.

When I arrived, everyone was chipper and handing out flyers about upcoming ballot measures to customers. It was the same info they were handing out at the fair which helped me broach the subject.

Central Organics is especially concerned about the November 8 vote. In Jefferson County and the city of Madras, there are measures on the ballot to ban medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries. Of the 15 measures on the ballot,  all but one would hurt the residents. Not only would the measures ban a new and thriving industry, it would prevent local schools from benefiting from the tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue collected from cannabis sales.

I admit that I have a biased opinion as a cannabis professional but I can’t understand peoples rational for choosing to put people in cages instead of investing in education. Banning cannabis is choosing to put people in jail. Allowing for and providing a legal and regulated cannabis market is choosing to invest in the community. Yet people like those directing the OLCC have continued to choose to pile on unreasonable restrictions like banning THC sales at the THC Fair and Dope Cup.

The ban of recreational marijuana both at events and on the ballot has been especially hard on the right kinds of businesses. Namely family owned small business that are locally based and make less than 25 million dollars a year. Cannabis based businesses are employing thousands of people in jobs like; sales attendant, bud trimmer and master grower.

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Hundreds of businesses in dozens of cities are growing like mad.

Despite obscene levels of oversight that has even the industry leaders on their toes, cannabis is helping build up communities after generations of degradation. Even small companies are able to produce and sell enough product to make fortunes. All while paying taxes every step of the way.

People are buying homes, building  industrial spaces and creating jobs that pay taxes into the system. If Madras OR Jefferson County ban cannabis, Central Organics along with dozens of other businesses will have to shut their doors. Instead of building the community, all of those people are going to be out of work and filing for benefits.

Without the large budgets to push for airtime on TV or radio, owners are afraid that people won’t know what is at stake in the voting booth. It’s hard to blame them either, almost nobody is talking anything but the presidential pageant. The unfathomable amounts of money getting funneled into the presidential election is making all other conversations (even other election news) fade into the din.

Bottom Socket

Here is a list of the Madras measures and what they do.

Measure 16-77: Bans recreational marijuana producers, wholesalers and retailers within Madras city limits. Approving the measure would block the city from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

 

Measure 16-78: calls for Madras to impose a 3 percent tax on marijuana sales by licensed marijuana retailers, if Measure 16-77 fails.

 

Measure 16-79: Bans medical marijuana processing sites in unincorporated areas of the county. Approving the measure would block the county from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

 

Measure 16-80: Bans medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county. Approving the measure would block the county from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

 

Measure 16-81: Bans recreational marijuana producers in unincorporated areas of the county. Approving the measure would block the county from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

 

Measure 16-82: Bans recreational marijuana retailers in unincorporated areas of the county. Approving the measure would block the county from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

 

Measure 16-83: Bans recreational marijuana wholesalers in unincorporated areas of the county. Approving the measure would block the county from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

 

Measure 16-84: Bans recreational marijuana processors in unincorporated areas of the county. Approving the measure would block the county from getting state marijuana tax revenue or imposing a local marijuana fee.

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Passing these measures negatively impacts local businesses. 

These measures prevent the city from receiving help for schools, drug rehabilitation and law enforcement. We need the community to come together and help ensure that cannabis is legal for all Oregonians. Make sure to vote before the cutoff on November 8th. If there are any local measures on your ballot like mine, please join me in supporting cannabis and DON’T BAN MARIJUANA! Thanks for reading.