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Oregon: Hemp Farmers Ask For Help From Legislature

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of Oregon hemp farmers, along with residents who want to grow hemo next year, on Wednesday asked state regulators at a hearing to clear roadblocks preventing the industry from thriving. Meanwhile, the hemp industry is thriving in other states with less onerous regulations.

But the types of changes they're asking for would require the help of the Oregon Legislature, not just state regulators, reports Taylor W. Anderson at The Bend Bulletin.

That's where the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association comes in. The group will ask hemp-friendly lawmakers to help fix the issues the state's nine licensed hemp farmers had in their first year of cultivation.

"Right now, the biggest changes to the legislation that we need is regarding greenhouses and propagation freedom," said Courtney Moran, a Portland attorney who is organizing the group. "This is the only crop in Oregon that you cannot grow in a greenhouse or use cuttings or clone."

The Oregon Department of Justice ruled in September that, since the 2009 state law legalizing hemp didn't include the specific word "greenhouse," and because greenhouse isn't included in the dictionary definition of "field," hemp farmers can't grow the plant indoors. Yeah, these guys really need to get out more.

Oregon: Scant Hemp Harvest For Medicine Despite Wide Interest

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Michael Hughes could legally grow marijuana in his back yard in Bend, Oregon, if he wanted to. But he can't grow hemp there.

Hughes bought a license to grow hemp, but due to a number of factors, it's still more legally difficult to grow hemp than marijuana and other crops in Oregon, reports Taylor W. Anderson at The Bend Bulletin.

The Legislature authorized hemp cultivation in 2009, despite it being considered marijuana and thus a Schedule I controlled substance federally. The law put the Oregon Department of Agriculture in charge of writing rules and licensing growers.

After taking five years(!) to finish the rules, the agency was finally ready this year for what turned out to be a largely unsuccessful growing season in which just nine licensed hemp farmers got crops into the ground. Those who braved the regulatory environment had to deal with months of uncertainty in a state that last November voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Timidity by the Department of Agriculture to embrace hemp has combined with federal law to cripple Oregon's hemp market, despite commercial interest in creating an industry that could lead the nation, according to farmers, businesses, lawmakers and the agencies overseeing hemp in Oregon and other states.

Oregon: Marijuana Dispensaries Report Massive Recreational Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon remained busy throughout the weekend after opening their doors to recreational customers on Thursday. The Oregon Legislature approved tax-free recreational sales through medicinal cannabis dispensaries through the end of the year.

Many of the shops opened at the stroke of midnight Thursday morning and were greeted with long lines of excited customers, reports Ted Shorack at The Bend Bulletin. Those lines continued all weekend, with thousands of customers checking out the shops.

"It was amazing," said Ben Hebert, owner of Dr. Jolly's in Bend. "We were totally busy all the time. I think we had a lot of happy people coming out of here."

Sales reached $55,000 on the first day alone, according to Aviv Hadar, cofounder of Oregrown Industries, which has a dispensary in Bend. As many as 2,000 customers shopped at his dispensary on the first day, according to Hadar.

"Our day two is bigger than most people's day one," Hadar said, reports Reed Andrews at KATU News.

Brothers Cannabis in Portland was one of the shops which opened at midnight; co-owner Nyno Thol said the shop is serving 600 people a day, about 20 times more than they usually do. "We're getting a lot of out of town folks and from Vancouver," he said.

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Measure 91 Endorsed By Colorado Congressman Jared Polis

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis on Friday gave a ringing endorsement to Measure 91, the ballot initiative which would legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon. Voters will decide the fate of the measure on Tuesday.

"The implementation of our new laws has gone smoothly overall, providing an excellent example for other states to follow," wrote Rep. Polis, who represents Colorado's Second Congressional District. "Our success has made it clear that when marijuana is regulated like alcohol, it can decrease crime, help fund schools and drug education programs, and keep money out of the hands of criminals and cartels.

"Voters in Oregon should look to our experience and success as they make their decision on Measure 91 on their ballot November 4th," Polis wrote in an op-ed which appeared in The Bend Bulletin on Friday.

"Violent crime is down in Denver," Polis wrote. "Fatal car crashes are in decline statewide. Marijuana arrests that mostly hindered low-income people and young men of color are no longer creating obstacles for employment, housing and education."

"I'm excited Oregon will soon decide whether to join Colorado and Washington in regulating marijuana like alcohol," Polis wrote. "More than ever, I believe it's time to change course on decades of failed marijuana prohibition and demonstrate viable, effective alternatives to address the realities of marijuana today."

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