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Oregon: 2 Injured In Explosion At Astoria Marijuana-extraction Business


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two people were injured in Astoria, Oregon in an explosion and fire at a marijuana extraction company.

The Daily Astorian reported that three people were working at Higher Level Concentrates when an explosion occurred Wednesday night, sparking a fire. All three people escaped but two suffered burn injuries and were taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

Astoria Deputy Police Chief Eric Halverson said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Maine: Governor LePage Warns Against 'Deadly' Marijuana In Over-the-top Video

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maine Governor Paul LePage released a false and misleading video Thursday attempting to convince voters to vote "no" on "Question 1", the state's marijuana legalization referendum up for a vote on the upcoming ballot.

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage warns, before falsely claiming traffic fatalities have gone up in Colorado since the state legalized recreational pot.

He makes a claim that “people addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.” He predicts a future where children and pets die from accidentally consuming “marijuana snacks,” and in which drug culture impinges on “schools, daycare centers and churches.”

“They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs,” he adds. “Businesses could not fire employees for using marijuana.”

According to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, marijuana has had no noticeable effect on traffic deaths in either Colorado or Washington.

And marijuana has been proven to reduce opioid deaths. In the 23 states where medical marijuana was legal in 2014, there were nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell (D) of Portland believes the video could actually help the campaign for legalization.

Oregon: Portland Marijuana Shop Robbed By At Least 4 People With Guns

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several people, some carrying guns, robbed a Portland marijuana dispensary Sunday night, Portland Police officials said.

Green Buds, a dispensary located at Northeast 109th Ave and Sandy Boulevard, was entered by several people about 8:50 pm who robbed the shop at gunpoint.

Police say up to six people were involved in the robbery, both men and women, with at least four of them carrying guns.

Police officers arrived at the dispensary within minutes of the 911 call. They observed two suspects leaving the property to the north towards some railroad tracks.

Special Emergency Reaction Team officers searched the area, but had been unable to locate any suspects as of Monday morning. Detectives released one man detained near the dispensary after determining that he was not involved in the robbery.

Chris Schaaf, owner of the dispensary, said the robbers took all the cash and all the marijuana, but his employees are all safe and unhurt.

Portland Police spokesman Pete Simpson said they are “actively searching for suspects in the area.” Investigators said they aren't sure if any of the suspects fired a gun, or whether anything was taken in the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Portland Police Department by calling 911.

Mississippi: Former Blazers Forward Travis Outlaw Arrested For Felony Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Travis Outlaw, formerly a player for the Portland Trailblazers, has been arrested in Starkville, Mississippi for a felony marijuana charge.

Local newspaper The Dispatch reports that Outlaw's indictment states that on July 15, he "did unlawfully, willfully, feloniously, knowingly and intentionally possess a controlled substance, marijuana, in an amount greater than 250 grams but less than 1 kilogram." the amount stated is the equivalent of less than two pounds.

He turned himself in to authorities, and was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Outlaw played as small forward for the Portland Trailblazers from 2003 to 2010, when he was traded to the Clippers. Outlaw has been playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, but was released after posting his bond.

Oregon: SE Portland Marijuana Dispensary Robbed At Gunpoint

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Southeast Portland marijuana dispensary was robbed Wednesday evening by three men, one of which was brandishing a handgun.

The theft occurred around 7:15 p.m. at Mt. Hood Wellness Center Dispensary at11121 SE Division St.

The three men demanded cash from an employee at gunpoint.

The man with the gun is described as being 5-foot-7 with a skinny build. He's in his 20s, has braided hair, is clean-shaven and was wearing a black hoodie.

The other men were also described as being in their 20s. One was wearing a gray hoodie, and the other a blue one.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to contact detectives at (503) 823-0405.

Oregon: Teen Facing Federal Drug Charges Over One Gram Of Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A teenager in Oregon is facing federal drug charges and up to a year in prison for possession of one gram of marijuana, his lawyer said. Federal authorities have not prosecuted a marijuana case in Oregon since 2011.

Devontre Thomas, 19, is a recent graduate of Chemawa Indian School in Salem with plans to attend college this fall. But first he'll have to appear at the federal courthouse in Portland to fight the charge, the result of an incident in March 2015.

Recreational marijuana use by adults was legalized in 2014 in Oregon, but the substance remains illegal under federal law, where it is classified as a Schedule I drug. Heroin and LSD are considered Schedule I, drugs with no medical value but with an extreme potential for abuse. The Justice Department has officially backed off from interfering with state-level marijuana laws, since the issuance of a memo 1n 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole. But the memo states that U.S. attorneys should continue to prosecute cases involving "the distribution of marijuana to minors."

Many are saying that it's a case of the federal government going too far, considering the small amount of pot Thomas was found with, enough for a couple of joints.

Oregon: $9M Illegal Marijuana Grow Raided Near Willamette River

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A massive marijuana grow in Oregon was raided early Tuesday morning, resulting in one arrest and the seizure of more than 6,500 plants.

The grow operation was found in rural Dayton after a two-month long investigation by the Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team, according to the Yamhiil County Sheriff's Office. Found in the wetlands of the Willamette River, the operation was connected to a Mexican drug trafficking organization.

The team raided the operation before sunrise with the help of the Oregon State Police SWAT. The thousands of plants were valued at more than $9 million.

Official found Manuel Madrigal, 42, hiding in a secret living area with a kitchen under a tarp. Madrigal,a resident of San Antonio, Texas with a history of drug arrests, was detained by deputies. He was arrested on federal charges of drug trafficking and turned over to U.S. Marshal custody in Portland.

Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson said the raid was a good example of the dangers Oregon faces from marijuana, even though it is now legal in certain quantities.

"There is still a profit to be made in marijuana by these illegal organizations," Svenson said. "As long as this continues, we will need to remain diligent in our investigations to keep this money from being routed to other areas of criminal activity."

Oregon: Portlanders Could Vote On 3% Marijuana Tax

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Wednesday, the Portland City Council will consider referring to voters a 3 percent tax on recreational marijuana. Money raised would go to alcohol and drug treatment, support for small businesses, and public safety.

Currently, recreational marijuana is taxed at 25 percent in Oregon. That will drop to 20 percent starting January 1, but cities and counties have the option of enacting a 3 percent local tax. But voters have to approve it.

It will be on the November 2016 ballot if the city council refers it to voters.

The tax was proposed by Commissioner Amanda Fritz. She says it would raise $3 million per year and the ballot measure would ensure the money doesn’t go into the general fund.

“There’ll be a robust conversation at council about, are these the right items to dedicate it to? There’s been some suggestions to not dedicate it at all or to put it to something that’s not related to marijuana use, and I think the taxes work best when there’s a clear nexus between the people who pay and the people who benefit and to make sure that that’s fair,” says Fritz.

Fritz says the amount of tax revenue going to each cause will change every year based on input from the community during the budget process.

Alaska: Marijuana Regulators Approve First Licenses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Alaska regulators approved the first licenses Thursday for legal marijuana growing and testing facilities.

Priority was being given to growing and testing operations to pave the way for retail stores to have legal product to sell. Retail licenses are expected to be issued starting later this year.

The Marijuana Control Board had thirty applications on their agenda when they met Thursday. Two were for testing facilities, and the rest were for grow operations.

CannTest LLC of Anchorage, a marijuana testing facility, had the first application approved. Applause and cheers followed the announcement.

"That's history right there, folks," board member Brandon Emmett said.

Mark Malagodi, CEO of CannTest LLC, said it felt good. "It's just the first hurdle," he said. "It's a big one and it's really exciting."

It's not yet clear how many testing facilities the industry will need because the amount of product to be examined has not yet been determined, board member Bruce Schulte said Wednesday. Alaska needs at least one functioning lab, he said.

"Whether the right number is two or four or one, that remains to be seen," said Schulte, who served as board chair until Thursday, when a new chair was elected.

Oregon: Recreational Marijuana Edibles, Topicals, Extracts On Sale June 2


While recreational marijuana customers in Oregon have been able to buy up to 7 grams of flower since last October, edibles, topicals and extracts haven't been available to them until now. That all changes on Thursday, June 2, when all of the above will be available -- albeit in limited amounts -- to adults 21 and older.

"Licensed and regulated sales have already created jobs and generated revenue for our great state, and the sky hasn't fallen like our opponents predicted," said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91, which legalized marijuana in the state.

Starting on June 2nd, Oregon will take the next step as adults 21 and over will be able to purchase:

• One marijuana-infused edible per day containing up to 15 mg of THC
• Any amount of cannabis-infused topical products containing no more than 6 percent THC
• One receptacle of cannabis extract containing up to 1,000 mg of THC

Oregon: Wednesday, May 11 Is Last Day Voters Can Mail Their Ballots


Today, Wednesday, May 11 is the last day Oregon voters can mail their ballots and expect them to be received by Election Day. After today, voters will need to drop their ballots off at a drop box location.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91, the ballot initiative responsible for legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon, is encouraging voters to take part in the democratic process, and he's made three specific endorsements.

"We have made great progress in Oregon and we can make even more by electing candidates that understand the need to implement sensible cannabis regulations," Johnson said on Wednesday. "We have made a couple of voting recommendations, but the most important thing is that you vote.

"Cannabis law reform, and candidates that support reasonable marijuana laws, do better when turnout is high, so let's continue to lead the nation, not just with our marijuana laws, but also with our voter participation," Johnson said.

Oregon: 17th Annual Cannabis March & Rally Today In Portland


On Saturday, May 7, 2016, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the 17th Annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally that begins at 12:00pm, with a scheduled cannabis freedom march beginning at 4pm through downtown, accompanied by police escort.

Musicians Garcia Birthday Band, The Hill Dogs, Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, Bad Habitat, Justin James Bridges and John Cornett & Friends have joined the lineup for the rally. There will be several guest speakers, including Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Oregon Rep. Tobias Read (District 27), Portland Mayoral Candidate Jessie Sponberg and Clackamas County Commissioner 3 Candidate Jenifer Valley. There will also be several non-profit organization booths.

We march to stand in solidarity for cannabis consumer rights. While marijuana may be legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law. We march to effect change on the federal level. We march for the right of employees to use marijuana in their off hours, just as employees can consume alcohol in their off hours. We march so renters can consume marijuana in their own homes without fear of eviction.

Oregon: 17th Annual Global Cannabis March Kicks Off At High Noon In Portland


On Saturday, May 7, 2016, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the 17th Annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally that begins at high noon, 12 pm, with a scheduled cannabis freedom march beginning at 4 pm through downtown.

Musicians Garcia Birthday Band, The Hill Dogs, Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, Bad Habitat, Justin James Bridges and John Cornett & Friends have joined the lineup for the rally. There will also be several guest speakers and non-profit organization booths.

We march to stand in solidarity for cannabis consumer rights. While marijuana may be legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law. We march to effect change on the federal level. We march for the right of employees to use marijuana in their off hours, just as employees can consume alcohol in their off hours. We march so renters can consume marijuana in their own homes without fear of eviction.

We march so cities and counties do not impose onerous regulations which offer little protection to the consumer or the non-consumer of marijuana. These choices only drive the cost of marijuana up and allow the unregulated market to thrive.

Oregon: Pro-Cannabis Group Endorses Ted Wheeler For Portland Mayor


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Approach Oregon, the pro-marijuana group which was behind the successful Measure 91 legalization campaign, on Tuesday endorsed candidate Ted Wheeler for mayor of Portland.

"I want to strongly urge you to consider casting your vote for Ted Wheeler, an ally of the marijuana law reform movement and someone who understands the importance of the cannabis industry and implementing the will of the voters," reads a letter from New Approach Oregon's Chief Petitioner, Anthony Johnson.

"When the Oregon Financial Estimate Committee met to determine the amount of revenue Measure 91 would generate for the state, our campaign became very concerned when the state's Legislative Revenue Office projected that legalizing marijuana would only bring in about $17 million in new revenue to the state," Johnson's letter reads. "One elected official on the committee cooly and calmly considered all of the evidence and wisely advocated that the state project a range of revenue. That official was Ted Wheeler, at the time serving on the committee as our state's treasurer.

"Ted advocated for a range of $17 million to $40 million," Johnson said. "And as we just saw the state collect about $7 million in the first two months of taxes, the upper end of the range is looking like a pretty good call.

Oregon: DEA Investigates Cannabis Oil Company True North Extracts


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The owners of True North Extracts, a Portland company which sells CO2 cannabis oil, are being investigated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), according to a federal search warrant affidavit.

The homes of True North's owners, Michael Andrew "Drew" Dillon and Michael Corby, were searched by the DEA after the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office shut down the company's extraction facility in Wood Village, saying the warehouse violated building and fire codes, reports Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week.

True North's vape-pen cartridges are sold at medical marijuana dispensaries. The company advertises its products as free of chemical solvents.

"True North products are designed for anyone looking for a completely clean and gentle experience, that benefits mind, body and soul," the company's website reads.

In the search warrant affidavit from December 23, DEA agent Traci Larsen said True North had only enough Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) registration cards to supply a few patients, yet had more than 50 pounds of CO2 oil.

Larsen also wrote she "suspected" Dillon and Corby of "money laundering" and "endangering human life" while illegally manufacturing controlled substances, both federal felonies.

Oregon: Police Sergeant Accused of Selling Marijuana While On Duty


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Oregon police sergeant has been fired after being accused of setting up a marijuana sale through text messages on his cellphone while in uniform and on duty in the department's squad room, according to federal court records.

Lonny McEwen, 44, a 20-year employee of the Warm Springs Police Department who was promoted to sergeant in 2010, made his first appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland, reports Maxine Bernstein at The Oregonian. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and distribution of a controlled substance.

McEwen on January 20 arranged a marijuana sale by text messages, seemingly unaware the prospective buyer was a police informant, according to a federal affidavit supporting a criminal complaint. McEwen told the informant he had four ounces of weed for sale, and asked if the informant was interested, the affidavit alleges.

In a series of text messages, McEwen told the informant he was selling marijuana to "help out a friend" and that it was "31 percent THC" and $200 an ounce," FBI Agent Daniel Baringer wrote in the affidavit.

While in the presence of Warm Springs police detectives in the squad room, McEwen agreed to sell the cannabis for $100 an ounce in texts sent just before the start of his shift, according to the affidavit.

The sale happened last Thursday after the buyer agreed to meet McEwen at his Warm Springs home, according to court records.

Oregon: Task Force Says State Should Should Fund Marijuana Research Institute


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon should pay for an independent cannabis institute to study the herb's medicinal and public health benefits, according to a task force including state officials, scientists and leading doctors.

Tax dollars from recreational marijuana sales would supplement private funding to underwrite the semi-public Oregon Institute for Cannabis Research, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

Research scientists and staff would be hired to navigate the complexities of getting marijuana studies federally approved, according to the report, prepared by the Oregon Health Authority.

The recommendation was included in a report submitted to the Oregon Legislature on Monday. Among the proposals is that the institute itself would grow and handle cannabis for research purposes.

"This institute will position Oregon as a leader in cannabis research and serve as an international hub for what will soon be a rapidly accelerating scientific field," according to the report. "No other single initiative could do as much to strengthen the Oregon cannabis industry and to support the needs of Oregon medical marijuana patients."

While the federal government allows research on marijuana, the approval process is tortuously complicated, and must use cannabis grow at a federal facility at The University of Mississippi.

Oregon: Cannabis Lobby Day and Rally at the Capitol


Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), along with several other cannabis organizations, will be participating in Cannabis Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, February 8, 2016. A press conference is scheduled for noon, 12 pm. The free speech event, will feature speakers, music and vendors until 5 pm.

On February 2, the Joint Committee for Marijuana Legalization held a Public Hearing to discuss HB 4014 and SB 1511. Hundreds attended, but only a fraction where allowed to testify due to time restrictions.

HB 4014 makes changes to laws regulating production, processing, sale, use and governance of cannabis. As citizens, we must protect the OMMP and continue the fight for patient rights and access to medicine.

SB 1511 directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to register qualified marijuana producers, marijuana processors, marijuana wholesalers and marijuana retailers for purposes of producing, processing and selling marijuana and usable marijuana and medical grade cannabinoid products, cannabinoid concentrates and cannabinoid extracts. "We will be rallying to prevent over-regulation of marijuana under M91 by the OHA, OLCC, OAC and ONI that could hinder, rather than aid, the creation, regulation and stabilization of legal marijuana related businesses," said press liaison Michael Bachara of CRRH.

Oregon: Ex-Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson Is Now Blazing Weed


Uncle Cliffy Becomes "Uncle Spliffy"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson is getting into the marijuana business, advocating the use of marijuana as a medical treatment for athletes.

Robinson, who just turned 49, is back in Portland, Oregon, and will be a featured speaker at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference next month, reports Ken Boddle at KOIN 6.

"I think I've always been an advocate for cannabis," Robinson said. "(It's) calming, calm my stomach, calm my nerves, so from that standpoint I see a lot of positives."

Robinson's 18-year NBA career lasted from 1989 through the 2006 season; he said he smoked marijuana while he was in the league, even though it was both illegal and against NBA rules.

"When I did it, it was wrong," Robinson said. "I paid the penalty. But now we're in a new time and we're trying to move forward."

Uncle Cliffy is getting into the marijuana business under the name Uncle Spliffy. He's urging team doctors to consider treating sports-related pain and other ailments with cannabis instead of harsh, dangerous pharmaceuticals.

"I think we definitely have to continue looking into cannabis and the benefits that it has, the health benefits that it has, because I think it's come leaps and bounds," Robinson said.

The Cannabis Collaborative Conference is scheduled for February 3-4 at the Expo Center in Portland. Cliff Robinson's keynote speech will be on Feb. 4.

U.S.: Congressman Blumenauer Writes Open Letter To President About Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday wrote an open letter advocating marijuana legalization to President Obama in advance of the President's State of the Union speech.

"As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances," Rep. Blumenauer wrote to the President.

The language chosen by Rep. Blumenauer is very significant, politically speaking. "Removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances" is, of course, the only way forward that avoids cannabis being immediately co-opted and controlled by Big Pharma, which is assuredly what will happen if it is moved from Schedule I to Schedule II or III on the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

Following is Rep. Blumenauer's letter in its entirety.

An Open Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

A State of the Union speech is a unique opportunity to address Congress and the nation about priorities and accomplishments, as well as to highlight critical issues.

I remember another speech in May 2008 when you spoke to over 70,000 Portlanders. The overwhelming feeling of hope coming from the crowd was palpable.

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