Tag Archives: Oregon legal marijuana

Marijuana legalization in Oregon has potential test case about employees…

Admin; this will be an interesting case if pursued after legalization since she could also be a tobacco and alcohol user.

Oregon TV Anchor Fired After Testing Positive for Marijuana

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jul 24, 2015, 4:49 PM ET

By GOSIA WOZNIACKA Associated Press

An Oregon television anchor has turned into a marijuana activist after being fired for testing positive for the drug.

Cyd Maurer, a morning weekend anchor at Eugene’s ABC affiliate KEZI-TV, said she was fired in May after getting into a minor accident while on assignment. In a video posted online, Maurer said that after the accident she was forced to take a drug test per company policy and failed it.

Maurer, 25, said she was completely sober at work and had used the marijuana several days before. Studies show marijuana, unlike alcohol, can be detected in some people for days after use — or even weeks, in case of frequent users.

Maurer, who has been working in television for the past three years and is a University of Oregon graduate, said she didn’t do anything wrong and felt the firing was discriminatory.

“I don’t fit the lazy stupid loser stereotype,” she said, adding she’s a responsible user and has never come to work impaired.

KEZI general manager Mike Boring declined comment. “We do not discuss personnel matters,” Boring said.

Recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon in July, after Maurer was fired. But even if the incident had happened after legalization, according to the state, KEZI still would have had the right to have a testing policy. Measure 91, which legalized possession and consumption, does not affect existing employment law. Employers who require drug testing can continue to do so, Oregon officials said.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even though more than twenty states — including Oregon — allow medical marijuana use. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C., also allow recreational use.

Kate Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the Society for Human Resource Management, said the organization has received numerous questions from members around the country about the effects of changing state marijuana laws on drug testing. At two national conferences this year, she said, training sessions about drug testing were packed to overflowing.

“HR professionals are trying to keep up to date with laws and make sure their policies incorporate the changing landscape legally,” Kennedy said.

In June, a court in Colorado ruled that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back. The patient, a quadriplegic, said he didn’t use the drug at work. The company, Dish Network, agreed that he wasn’t high on the job, but it said it has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, use of the drug couldn’t be considered legal off-duty activity.

The case was being watched closely by employers and pot smokers in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. Supreme courts in California, Montana and Washington state have made similar rulings in the past.

Over a decade ago in Oregon, a forklift driver who had a medical marijuana card was also fired after taking a drug test following an accident at work. The state found no evidence he had been impaired on the job.

But Maurer, the fired anchor, said she was tired of hiding the use of a substance that’s now legal in the state and wants to start a conversation about the drug. She’s also planning a new career in the marijuana industry.

 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/oregon-tv-anchor-fired-testing-positive-marijuana-32672061

Marijuana Legalization for Oregon, Alaska and District of Columbia are looking more promising for 2014.


Jacob SullumJacob Sullum Contributor

I cover the war on drugs from a conscientious objector’s perspective.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

7/24/2014 @ 5:07PM 2,370 views

3 More Jurisdictions That Could Legalize Marijuana By The End Of The Year

This week a marijuana legalization initiative officiallyqualified for the ballot in Oregon. Voters will also consider legalization measures in Alaska and (probably) the District of Columbia this fall, so by the end of the year three more jurisdictions could join Colorado and Washington in allowing recreational use of cannabis. The differences among the five measures illustrate the advantages of federalism, which allows policy experiments that will help chart the course to the end of marijuana prohibition in America.

Oregon

The Oregon initiative, known as the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act, combines elements of Colorado’s Amendment 64 and Washington’s I-502. Like both of those initiatives, it would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a time. Like Amendment 64, it allows nonprofit transfers of up to an ounce. That provision protects people from arrest for sharing pot, which otherwise can be treated as criminal distribution, even if it’s limited to passing a joint.

The Oregon measure’s decriminalization of  marijuana use does not apply to consumption in any “public place,” defined as “a place to which the general public has access.” By comparison, Colorado prohibits “consumption that is conducted openly and publicly,” while Washington forbids consumption “in view of the general public,” both of which seem to cover less ground. Like Colorado (and unlike Washington), Oregon’s initiative allows home cultivation, but with stricter limits: up to four plants and eight ounces of usable marijuana per household, compared to six plants and whatever amount they produce per adult in Colorado.

The Oregon initiative takes a different approach to taxation than Colorado or Washington, both of which imposed levies based on a percentage of wholesale and retail prices. Oregon’s initiative instead would impose taxes on cannabusinesses based on weight: $35 per ounce of buds and $10 per ounce of leaves, plus $5 per immature plant.

One distinct advantage of the Oregon initiative is that it would not change the standard for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII, a.k.a. DUID). Under current law, convicting someone of DUII requires showing that he was “affected to a noticeable degree” by marijuana or another controlled substance, based on the “totality of the circumstances.” By contrast, Washington’s current rule, established by I-502, says any driver whose blood contains five or more nanograms of THC per milliliter is automatically guilty of DUID, a standard that in effect prohibits driving by many daily consumers, including patients who use marijuana as a medicine, even when they are not actually impaired. Amendment 64 did not directly change Colorado’s DUID law, but after it passed the state legislature approved a law that created a “rebuttable presumption”of DUID at five nanograms, which in ”practice may have the same impact as Washington’s law. Oregon’s initiative instead instructs the state Liquor Control Commission, which as in Washington would be charged with regulating the newly legal cannabis industry, to study “the influence of marijuana on the ability of a person to drive a vehicle” and advise the legislature on whether changing Oregon’s DUII rule is appropriate.

A previous Oregon legalization initiative failed in 2012, when 53 percent of voters said no to Measure 80. A recent Survey USA poll put support for marijuana legalization in Oregon at 51 percent, with 41 percent opposed and 8 percent undecided.

pot-in-pots

(Image: Jacob Sullum)

Alaska

Alaska has taken a unique approach to marijuana since 1975, when the Alaska Supreme Court decided that the state constitution’s privacy clause allows people to possess small amounts of cannabis at home for personal use without fear of arrest or punishment. But that ruling raised an obvious question: Where are people supposed to get the pot they are allowed to use?

Measure 2, which was originally set to appear on the primary ballot next month but was switched to the November ballot for technical legal reasons, answers that question with a system similar to Colorado’s. It would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a time, grow up to six plants at home, and transfer up to an ounce at a time to other adults “without remuneration.” It authorizes state-licensed growers, cannabis product manufacturers, and retailers, to be regulated by Alaska’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or a separate agency created by the state legislature.

Alaska’s tax would be $50 per ounce, collected from growers. From the government’s perspective, the advantage of that approach, which is similar to the way alcohol is taxed (by volume),  is that proceeds from a given quantity of marijuana remain the same as prices drop, which is what will happen as the market develops unless something goes terribly wrong. The disadvantage, from a social engineer’s perspective, is that a tax based on weight does not take potency into account (unlike alcohol taxes, which fall more heavily on liquor than on beer). In fact, a weight tax might encourage higher potency, especially as it becomes a larger and larger component of the retail price. If production costs fall as expected, Alaska’s weight tax could amount to a rate of 100 percent or more within a few years, giving consumers an even bigger incentive to buy the strongest pot they can find.

Measure 2 prohibits marijuana consumption “in public,” making it “a violation punishable by a fine of up to $100.” The initiative does not define “in public,” but that language probably will prevent people from legally consuming marijuana in any setting other than their homes. As in Colorado, the effort to keep cannabis consumption hidden will make enjoying the newly legal product especially problematic for visitors.

Like Oregon’s initiative, Alaska’s does not change the state’s DUID rules. Under current law, blood test results can be used as evidence that someone was driving “while under the influence of” marijuana, but they are not necessarily conclusive. Alaska does not have a “per se” standard like Washington’s, which makes drivers automatically guilty of DUID when the amount of THC in their blood exceeds a specified level.

A March poll commissioned by the Alaska House Majority Caucus found that 52 percent of voters favored Measure 2, a few points lower than the support found in a survey by Public Policy Polling the previous month.

MBS-dispensary2

Mind Body Spirit dispensary in Dumont, Colorado (Image: Jacob Sullum)

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia’s marijuana initiative—which has not officially qualified for the ballot yet but probably will soon, since the campaignsubmitted more than twice the required number of signatures earlier this month—is the least ambitious of this year’s three legalization measures, since it does not allow commercial production and sale. Instead Initiative 71 would legalize home cultivation of up to six plants by adults 21 or older, along with possession of up to two ounces and transfer of up to an ounce at a time “without remuneration.” Residents who are not horticulturally inclined and do not have friends who are would be out of luck.

Last March a survey by Public Policy Polling found that Initiative 71 was supported by 49 percent of D.C. residents, with 33 percent opposed and 18 percent undecided. By contrast, a 2013 survey by the same organization found that 63 percent of D.C. voters either “strongly” or “somewhat” supported allowing commercial distribution as well as possession and consumption.

Legalizing the marijuana business would require action by the D.C. Council, which probably will not be ready to take that step anytime soon, although it diddecriminalize possession of up to an ounce this year, making it a violation punishable by a $25 fine rather than a misdemeanor that can result in arrest and jail time. Even if  local legislators were inclined to favor full legalization, they could be overridden by Congress, which has veto authority over D.C. laws. Congress could also block implementation of Initiative 71 if it passes, as it did for years with the medical marijuana initiative that D.C. voters approved in 1998.

Even the decriminalization of possession in D.C. was a step too far for some members of Congress. The House version of an appropriations bill making its way through Congress includes an amendment introduced by Rep. AndyHarris HRS +0.36% (R-Md.) that bars D.C. from spending money “to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution” of any controlled substance, including marijuana. The impact of the Harris amendment on the new penalty for possession, which took effect last week, is uncertain, since it is not clear in what sense not arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession results in an additional expenditure of public funds. But if the amendment is part of the appropriations bill approved by both houses (which looks unlikely, since that would require the assent of Senate Democrats), it could effectively nullify Initiative 71. In fact, the Yes on 71 campaign worriesthat Harris’s rider “could prevent the District of Columbia Board of Elections from using its funds to print the ballots that include Initiative #71.”

The White House opposes the Harris amendment, and its rationale is heartening:

The Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally passed marijuana policies, which…undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule. Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.

Strictly speaking, “states’ rights” do not apply to the District of Columbia. Still, it’s encouraging to hear the administration explicitly invoke federalism (as opposed to, say, Justice Department priorities) in the context of marijuana reform. The local autonomy preserved by the Constitution creates leeway for states to give pot peace a chance, and the experience of those that do will guide others in the coming years. In 2016 more states are expected to consider legalization, most likely including California, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Maine, and Massachusetts.

“Colorado is not going to be the top dog for much longer,” says Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief, one of the state’s best-known dispensaries. “By 2016 we’re going to have up to a dozen other states in this country that are legalizing cannabis.  I think it’s only a matter of time before Colorado really gets overlooked.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/07/24/3-more-jurisdictions-that-could-legalize-marijuana-by-the-end-of-the-year/

Oregon will vote to legalize marijuana this fall.

Oregon marijuana legalization measure makes November ballot

Pot Oregon Legislation

Anthony Johnson, director of New Approach Oregon, delivers boxes of signed petitions to an election worker on June 26 in Salem, Ore. New Approach’s ballot initiative to legalize marijuana submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. (Chad Garland / Associated Press)

By MAYA SRIKRISHNAN

Drugs and MedicinesMarijuana Use

First came Colorado and Washington. Will Oregon be next state to OK recreational pot use?

Oregonians will vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use

Oregonians will be able to vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The initiative submitted by the marijuana reform group New Approach Oregon received at least 88,500 valid signatures to qualify for placement on the ballot, election workers announced Wednesday.

“Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed,” Peter Zuckerman, spokesman for New Approach Oregon, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. “We can’t afford to wait — more lives are being ruined, more money is being blown into the black market and police are more distracted from issues like violent crime. Oregonians are open to a new approach to marijuana and we are going to fight for every vote.”

The measure needs a simple majority to pass.

If Oregon legalizes recreational marijuana, it would become the third state to do so, following Washington and Colorado, which both passed legalization initiatives in 2012. Alaska will also vote on a similar measure in November.

Twenty-four states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws permitting medicinal marijuana use.

The Oregon ballot measure, Initiative Petition 53, seeks to regulate the personal possession, commercial cultivation and retail sale of cannabis to adults. Under the plan, taxes on the sale of cannabis are estimated to raise about $88 million in the first two years following the law’s implementation.

The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to four plants. It would also give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission authority to oversee and regulate recreational sales, which would start in January 2016.

Recreational marijuana would be taxed at $1.50 a gram or $35 an ounce, according to the initiative. That revenue from the taxes would go to schools, law enforcement, drug treatment programs and mental health programs.

In a June poll in Oregon, 51% of those surveyed said they supported allowing adults to use, possess and grow marijuana for their personal use while allowing the state to regulate and tax it.

A study released Tuesday by ECO Northwest, an economic analysis and advisory group, estimated that marijuana regulation in Oregon would generate $38.5 million in tax revenue in the first year of sales.

Follow @msrikris for the latest national news.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-oregon-marijuana-legalization-ballot-initiative-20140723-story.html

Watch this year as state by state efforts will legalize beyond the current 20 states that allow medical and/or recreational!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/us/momentum-is-seen-as-more-states-consider-legalizing-marijuana.html?_r=0

Pivotal Point Is Seen as More States Consider Legalizing Marijuana

By RICK LYMANFEB. 26, 2014

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    Katrin Haugh, left, and Carol Thompson, of the Absentee and Petition Office in Anchorage,  processed signatures that supported the effort to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.CreditErik Hill/The Anchorage Daily News, via Associated Press

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    A little over a year after Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, more than half the states, including some in the conservative South, are considering decriminalizing the drug or legalizing it for medical or recreational use. That has set up a watershed year in the battle over whether marijuana should be as available as alcohol.

    Demonstrating how marijuana is no longer a strictly partisan issue, the two states considered likeliest this year to follow Colorado and Washington in outright legalization of the drug are Oregon, dominated by liberal Democrats, and Alaska, where libertarian Republicans hold sway.

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    Advocates of more lenient marijuana laws say they intend to maintain the momentum from their successes, heartened by national and statewide polls showing greater public acceptance of legalizing marijuana, President Obama’s recent musings on the discriminatory effect of marijuana prosecutions and the release ofguidelines by his Treasury Departmentintended to make it easier for banks to do business with legal marijuana businesses.

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    Kevin A. Sabet is the executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which is spearheading much of the effort to stop legalization initiatives.CreditMatthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

    Their opponents, though, who also see this as a crucial year, are just as keen to slow the legalization drives. They are aided by a wait-and-see attitude among many governors and legislators, who seem wary of pushing ahead too quickly without seeing how the rollout of legal marijuana works in Colorado and Washington.

    “We feel that if Oregon or Alaska could be stopped, it would disrupt the whole narrative these groups have that legalization is inevitable,” said Kevin A. Sabet, executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which is spearheading much of the effort to stop these initiatives. “We could stop that momentum.”

    Despite the drug still being illegal under federal law, the Obama administration has said it will not interfere with the rollout of legal marijuana in the states for several reasons, including whether the state is successful in keeping it out of the hands of minors.

    At least 14 states — including Florida, where an initiative has already qualified for the ballot — are considering new medical marijuana laws this year, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports legalization, and 12 states and the District of Columbia are contemplating decriminalization, in which the drug remains illegal, but the penalties are softened or reduced to fines. Medical marijuana use is already legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

    An even larger number of states, at least 17, have seen bills introduced or initiatives begun to legalize the drug for adult use along the lines of alcohol, the same approach used in Colorado and Washington, but most of those efforts are considered unlikely of success this year.

    The allure of tax revenues is also becoming a powerful selling point in some states, particularly after Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado said last week that taxes from legal marijuana sales would be $134 million in the coming fiscal year, much higher than had been predicted when the measure was passed in 2012.

    In Rhode Island, which is struggling financially, national and local advocates for legalization say the Colorado news is sure to help legislation introduced in February to legalize the drug.

    “Some feel it’s not an appropriate issue for an election year, and others want to wait and see what happens in Colorado,” said State Senator Joshua Miller, a Democrat who is sponsoring the Rhode Island legalization law. “But a lot of other people are very anxious to take the revenue part of this very seriously.”

    Opponents of legalization, meanwhile, are mobilizing across the country to slow the momentum, keeping a sharp eye on Colorado for any problems in the rollout of the new law there.

    “Legalization almost had to happen in order for people to wake up and realize they don’t want it,” Mr. Sabet said. “In a strange way, we feel legalization in a few states could be a blessing.”

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    The mammoth cometh

    California had been considered a possibility to legalize marijuana this year through a ballot proposition — one to do just that failed in 2010 — but the Drug Policy Alliance, which had been leading the effort, decided this month to wait until 2016.

    While much of the recent attention has focused on these legalization efforts, medical marijuana may also cross what its backers consider an important threshold this year — most notably in the South where Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are among the states considering such laws.

    John Morgan, an Orlando lawyer whose firm includes former Gov. Charlie Crist, has spent $3.6 million of his own money to get a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot in Florida, where a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in November showed that eight in 10 Florida voters support medical marijuana. State law requires 60 percent to pass.

    Mr. Morgan insists that his initiative is not intended to help Mr. Crist, a Republican turned Democrat, reclaim the governorship.

    Election data, compiled by Just Say Now, a pro-marijuana group,showed that the percentage of the vote that came from people under 30 increased significantly from 2008 to 2012 in states that had marijuana initiatives. This youth vote, predominantly Democratic, rose to 20 percent from 14 percent in Colorado, and to 22 percent from 10 percent in Washington, both far above the 1 percent rise in the national youth vote.

    “If it benefits Charlie Crist, it’s certainly an unintended consequence,” Mr. Morgan said.

    Mr. Sabet said his conversations with Democratic leaders around the country convince him that there is little enthusiasm for being high-profile on the issue. “For the moment, I think by and large, Democrats are uncomfortable with that,” Mr. Sabet said.

    In Maryland, though, the marijuana issue is already playing a role in the governor’s race, where all three leading Democratic candidates are talking about how much and how fast to ease marijuana laws, not whether to do it at all.

    A narrow majority of Americans — 51 percent — believe marijuana should be legal, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week, matching the result in a CBS News poll the previous month. In 1979, when The Times and CBS first asked the question, only 27 percent wanted cannabis legalized.

    There were stark differences in the new poll, though. While 72 percent of people under 30 favored legalization, only 29 percent of those over 65 agreed. And while about a third of Republicans now favored legalization, this was far below the 60 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents who did so.

    In Alaska, sufficient signatures have been collected to get the legalization initiative on the ballot.

    “Alaska is a red state, but with a heavy libertarian streak,” said Taylor Bickford, spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska. “The idea of personal freedom and responsibility is uniting Alaskans on both sides of the aisle.”

    Under state law, however, the vote will occur during the Aug. 19 primary, not in the general election.

    “The support in Alaska is very strong, but how do you poll on an issue like this for a low-turnout primary election?” asked Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. That is why he thinks Oregon really has the better chance this year.

    Anthony Johnson, the director of New Approach Oregon, a coalition that is leading the drive there, said advocates are trying to persuade state legislators to put the issue on the November ballot while simultaneously preparing to collect the roughly 88,000 signatures that would be needed to force it onto the ballot if the legislators demur.

    “At the moment, I’d say the odds are no better than 50 percent that the Legislature will act,” Mr. Johnson said. “But if they don’t, we will just gather the signatures. I am pretty confident we will be able to get them.”

    Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, a leading advocate for legalizing marijuana, said campaigns were already underway to stage aggressive legalization drives in several states over the next couple of years, including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and possibly Montana.

    “It is certainly important to maintain the momentum,” Mr. Tvert said, “But I don’t think we can look at any one election cycle and see what the future holds. This is going to be a multiyear effort.”

    Dalia Sussman contributed reporting.