Category Archives: Oregon

Beware Fraud in Cannabis Investment

By Jeff Bess, third-year student at the University of Washington School of Law.

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State-legal cannabis is a booming business and further state-level moves toward legalization and regulation are likely on the way. Though legalization has most famously resulted in economic growth and increased state and local tax revenues, it has also come with its fair share of problems. As Seattle-based cannabis business attorney Hilary Bricken wrote earlier this month: “[L]ike any new and high growth industry with complicated and constantly changing rules and regulations, the marijuana industry is chalk full of scammers and con artists.” A recently reported, ongoing cannabis fraud investigation in Oregon – the first of its kind in the state – illustrates one way that less-than-scrupulous investment in the cannabis space can potentially present significant pitfalls for investors and entrepreneurs alike.

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Washington Department of Health’s Campaign for Educating Parents & Kids

By Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project

Back in mid-2014, the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) launched an advertising campaign to provide information regarding the state’s new marijuana laws to parents. It included radio ads with expert doctors along with online advertising, both particularly geared towards families of color. A second campaign was launched in early 2015 via transit and print publications. These campaigns were similar to those done in other states, including Oregon’s recent campaign and those done in Colorado.

Ads created by WSDOH aimed to reach parents.

Ads created by WSDOH aimed to reach parents.

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Tribes of Warm Springs To Sell Cannabis in Oregon

Map of Warm Springs Reservation

Map of Warm Springs Reservation

Last week members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs voted to grow, process, and sell recreational marijuana. This decision is the result of a referendum that passed with an 86 percent approval. The referendum drew about 1,400 voters total, many of which were younger tribal members. The Warm Springs Reservation is home to nine federally recognized tribes and is the largest reservation in the state, located on 650,000 acres in north central Oregon.

The approved referendum allows the tribe to grow marijuana on the reservation in a greenhouse that may range from 10,000 to 36,000 square feet. However, the possession of marijuana is prohibited on the reservation and the referendum does nothing to change that. Consequently, the marijuana grown on the reservation will be sold to the public through three tribal-owned stores located off the reservation.

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Cannabis Research with Human Subjects?

By Jason Liu, second-year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton School of Law. 

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

As state-legal cannabis systems are developing, there is a growing interest in the research in cannabis. The Portland Tribune reported today that on Oregon creating a new task force (Senate Bill 844) to develop research frameworks for the study of cannabis.  The task force aims to lay the groundwork for state-backed medical marijuana research.  Other states have implemented similar frameworks.  However, because cannabis is listed as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, the federal legal frameworks on cannabis provide researchers very limited opportunities to research cannabis.  The FDA noted that it “has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug,” however it “is aware there is considerable interest in its use to attempt to treat a number of medical conditions.”  With all of this interest, what is the proper regulatory pathway a researcher must take to research cannabis?

As “research” is broad, there are many ways cannabis can be researched (e.g., chemical analyses, genomic studies, animal studies).  In this post, we will review the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) guidelines for research on human subjects.  Because HHS heavily regulates the research of human subjects, looking at HHS protocols is a good place to start. Continue reading

Why Oregon’s Coming Sales Tax on Cannabis May Be More “Taxing” than Anticipated

By Jeff Bess, second-year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton School of Law. 

Image taken by 401kcalculator.org.

Image  by 401kcalculator.org, used under Creative Commons License.

Oregon has long been known (and loved) for its lack of sales tax. It is one of five states that does not tax the sale of goods. However, Oregon will make an exception to its tax policy when it comes to cannabis.

A major rationale for state-level legalization of cannabis is the promise of tax revenues that can help fund education, infrastructure, drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, and other social services.  Oregon’s northern neighbor Washington is projected to exceed one billion dollars over the next four years in tax revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis.  Oregon’s new sales tax, which will apply at a rate of 17-20% (localities have discretion to add up to 3% on top of the 17% state-level tax), is also expected to be a boon to the state’s budget.  Effectively implementing and enforcing any tax of that scale and actually realizing these anticipated fiscal benefits, however, presents challenges.

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U.S. Postal Service Warns Against Advertisements for Mailing Marijuana

By Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project

If a recreational marijuana retail store advertised in a newspaper that was mailed to a residence, are they breaking the law?

© United States Postal Service. Use qualifies as fair use under copyright law.

© United States Postal Service. Use qualifies as fair use under copyright law.

In a surprising move, a Portland-based U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office issued a statement warning against advertisements for mailing marijuana pursuant to the USPS’s Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), and also citing to the Controlled Substances Act for ads seeking to sell or buy marijuana. The Oregonian reported the statement stating the USPS “warned newspapers that it is a felony to mail material that includes marijuana advertising. But the USPS statement never says it is a felony, nor do the laws that the statement cites to. Notably, the Oregonian pointed out that the statement came from a local office and not a regional or national office. Continue reading

Green Friday: What Post-Thanksgiving Sales Tell Us About the Future of Legal Cannabis in Oregon and Beyond

By Jeff Bess, second-year student at the University of Washington School of Law. 

Photo by Flickr user *sax, used under Creative Commons license.

Photo by Flickr user *sax, used under Creative Commons license.

As Thanksgiving 2015 approaches, the unexpected effects of state-legalized cannabis are most salient in Oregon.  As bargain shoppers in the state are prepping for the Black Friday gauntlet, a group of recreational cannabis dispensaries are getting into the consumer action with deals of their own.

On Friday, November 27, more than twenty dispensaries in Oregon will host a “Green Friday” event that advertises a quarter ounce of cannabis flower sold for $20 to recreational customers over the age of 21.  Despite some concern over an oversaturaturated cannabis market, the Green Friday deal represents a discount that is at home in the ecosystem of Black Friday door-buster advertisements.  Green Friday deals apply to one hundred pounds of cannabis that have been distributed to participating dispensaries; once that inventory is gone, the deal is finished. Continue reading