Cannabuzz: The Week in Cannabis Cannabis Confusion in the Capital

A yellow highway sign reads "Questions Answers"

This week, I’m going to fail you as a cannabis columnist.

This is not to say I have accepted a god that frowns upon using a plant that said deity itself created.

Nor does it mean the title of this column has changed to “Cokebuzz, the Week in Cocaine News!” (“As part of our 25-part series, this week we try some cocaine, discuss how you can get more cocaine, and then we’re gonna do—that’s right!—more cocaine!!!”)

No, my friends, this week I’ve failed you because I’m unable to do what this column sets out to do: inform you about cannabis matters in an enlightening and hopefully entertaining manner.

Let me explain.

Friends lately started asking me, “Hey, so what’s up with Measure 91 and Salem?”

For any out-of-state readers, Salem is the capital of Oregon, and it’s where good sense, clear thinking, and hope for democracy in action all go to die a death befitting a Normandy Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan.

My response so far has been a cheery yet pat, “That’s a great question, and say, your hair looks great/you’ve lost some weight/would you like to take some cannabis with me?”

Here’s the thing.

I have no… fucking… idea… what is going on in Salem surrounding cannabis issues, and the greatest minds who are there have been unable to explain it to me, despite their best efforts.

To recap, we’ve had the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) in place since 1998.

Last November, we passed Measure 91, which makes recreational cannabis legal for adult usage, starting on July 1.

Measure 91 had very specific language that stated—three times—that the OMMP would be left alone as Measure 91 was implemented.

Then someone at the federal level made some noise that maybe we needed to change that.

Who said it? Can’t tell you.

Not because I don’t trust you, but because I don’t know.

So the group tasked with implementing Measure 91—the “joint joint committee”—proposed some big changes.

Changes such as: reducing the number of plants that an OMMP patient can have, instituting a tracking system from seed to end user that gave me a headache even reading through the language, and recommended intrusive inspections by law enforcement officials.

Then things went to hell when the committee tried, and failed, to work out how to deal with Senate Bill 1531, which permitted local Oregon governments to individually ban medical dispensaries on a city and county level.

Longtime activists started freaking out, fingers were pointed, and middle ones were raised.

My inbox filled up daily with opposing “action blasts”—call this senator, tell them yes! Email this representative, and tell them no! Ask them, WHY DO YOU HATE DEMOCRACY?

That’s where we’re at right now. It’s a quagmire.

A new bill has now been proposed that would allow OMMP dispensaries to sell recreational cannabis beginning October 1 of this year—instead of fall 2016, when recreational dispensaries were at one point slated to open.

Will it pass? I don’t know. Then again, no one does. Stay tuned…

Josh Taylor is a well-known and successful entrepreneur in the legal cannabis space, producing B2B and B2C cannabis events, "Backstage Budtending" and upscale concierge services through his companies and His weekly syndicated newspaper column and features about cannabis ran for five years until March 2020.

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