Learning from the Past; Looking to the Future
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
In 1985, the Oregon Marijuana Initiative (OMI), with petitioners including Jack Herer, Paul Stanford, John Sajo and countless others, collected over 87,000 signatures necessary to place the issue of legalization on the ballot.
In 1986, the initiative officially became Oregon’s Ballot Measure 5. The measure, which sought to legalize cannabis, united activists’ from across the state. By some estimates, cannabis was Oregon’s largest cash crop in 1986.
The ballot measure was ultimately rejected by Oregon voters with 279,479 “Yes” and 781,922 “No” votes, or 26.33% support.
It has been 25 years since that vote and societal attitudes have continued to change toward cannabis. The prohibitionist propaganda has faded with time and the debunking of racist mythology. We are clearer in educating ourselves and others about this valuable plant. Medicinal cannabis has become legal in Oregon and across the country. Farmers are beginning to see the value that hemp could bring to our economy as well with hemp food, fuel, clothing, paper, building materials and so much more.
Oregonians for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 are currently circulating petitions for Initiative 9, to make hemp and cannabis legal in Oregon.
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Regulations have been finalized to allow for the sanctioned-use and dispensing of medical cannabis in two more regions of the country: Arizona and in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC.
In Arizona, representatives from the Arizona Department of Health Services have approved rules governing the state’s soon-to-be-implemented Arizona Medical Marijuana Program. Voters directed the state to approve regulations regarding the use and distribution of medicinal marijuana in November when they decided in favor of Proposition 203 — making Arizona the fifteenth state since 1996 to legalize the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Program rules, physician certification forms, and answers to frequently asked questions are all available online from the Arizona Department of Health Services here.
Arizona patients may begin qualifying for the program next week, and dispensary applications will be accepted beginning June 1. All patients initially approved by the state will have the option to cultivate their own marijuana. However, patients who reside within 25 miles of a state-licensed dispensary will lose this option once such facilities are up and running later this fall.
In the District of Columbia, city leaders have finally signed off on long-awaited rules regulating patients’ use and access to cannabis. Those rules are expected to take effect April 15. The just-finalized regulations will permit D.C. officials to allow as many as ten cultivation centers and five dispensaries in the District. Permit applications are anticipated to be available by April 17.
The forthcoming rules implement facets of I-59, the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative, a 1998 municipal ballot measure which garnered 69 percent of the vote yet was never implemented. Under the new regulations, qualifying D.C. patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis at licensed dispensaries, but will not be permitted under the law to grow their own medicine.
Washington DC’s forthcoming program is limited to residents of the District of Columbia and is not reflective of any broader change in federal policy.
Additional information on these and other state medical marijuana programs is available from the NORML website here.
Categories: Health, Lifestyle, Marijuana Tags: Arizona Department Of Health Services, Ballot Measure, City Leaders, Columbia City, Department Of Health Services, Dispensaries, Dispensary, District Of Columbia, Fifteenth State, Legalization Marijuana, Legalization Of Marijuana, Marijuana Medical, Medical Cannabis, Medical Marijuana Program, Medical Marijuana Rules, Medicinal Marijuana, Municipal Ballot, Permit Applications, Physician Certification, Treatment Initiative