Earlier today I received a press release for an amazing event that takes place in Portland, Oregon each year. Attend if you are able to. I know I will be! More information is below:
On Saturday, May 5, 2018, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally that begins at 12:00pm, with a scheduled cannabis freedom march through downtown in the afternoon. The day long event will showcase the Dr. Phillip Leveque Memorial Stage, bands, speakers and vendor booths. This public event has always been free to attend.
Portland’s annual Global Cannabis March / Oregon Cannabis Festival advocates for decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal, industrial, and social use in Oregon and across the United States. Founded in 1999 by Oregon’s chapter of National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, the Global Cannabis March takes place the first Saturday of May, with cities around the world participating.
Over the years, speakers have included: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Senator Lew Frederick, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, and U.S. Federal Medical Marijuana Patient Elvy Musikka.
We march to stand in solidarity for cannabis consumer rights. While marijuana may be legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law. We march to effect change on the federal level. We march for the right of employees to use marijuana in their off hours, just as employees can consume alcohol in their off hours. We march so renters can consume marijuana in their own homes without fear of eviction.
According to Anna Diaz of Parents 4 Pot, “Even though legalization is now a reality in Oregon, we have much work to do. We march to support our medical program, which we need to save from the legislature. We march to remove the stigma that responsible cannabis consumers suffer. We march to show solidarity with people in parts of Oregon who cannot march openly in support of marijuana. Portland is not like other parts of Oregon when it comes to marijuana.”
“We march to remind the public that we still have prisoners of the drug war who need to be freed. We march in remembrance of the warriors we have lost along the way. And we march to celebrate our hard-fought victories to show prohibitionists that we will continue this fight until our freedom is complete,” says Diaz.
One of the festival sponsors, Paul Loney of Loney Law Group, said, “Measure 91 was only the beginning. We need to protect the rights of renters, employees, and adult responsible users. Do we fire people for using tobacco or alcohol on the weekend? Do we evict renters for brewing their own beer at home? If cigar bars are allowed, why not cannabis lounges? We march here to support those here in the US and around the world who cannot be public with their responsible use of marijuana.”
The ACLU of Oregon’s Legislative Director Kimberly McCullough spoke out in support of the march saying, “We continue to be involved in this effort because we want Oregon’s experience with legal marijuana to be a successful model for other states so we can finally change federal policy.”
Although smoking and vaporizing in public space is currently not allowed in Portland, our event is seeking a waiver of enforcement of public cannabis use for 2018. More importantly, we are seeking to establish a permitting process for adult cannabis use areas for public events going forward, in joint effort with the Portland City Council, Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Mayor Wheeler, NORML, OLCC, ACLU of Oregon and several other organizations. We will also be circulating a petition to remove cannabis from the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act.
The passage of Measure 91 marked a monumental shift in Oregon’s treatment of marijuana. Public discourse about the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana, for both medical and recreational purposes, continues to be a critical component of the development of policy and regulations at the state and local level. Public events, especially ones hosted in public spaces such as the parks in downtown Portland, are important venues for this ongoing dialogue.
Mayor Wheeler has stated that there are a number of ways that he plans to lead on cannabis policy and advocacy as the Mayor of Portland. “We know that Portland has already successfully hosted several public consumption events here. There will be growing pains, but there is no reason Portland cannot be a leader when it comes to cannabis-related festivals and events,” Mayor Wheeler said.
Mayor Wheeler also believes that we must continue protecting the rights of patients as was intended when Measure 91 was passed and that patients and people enjoying cannabis recreationally must have access to a safe place to consume indoors. He supports exploring regulation of public consumption venues locally.
“Cannabis cafés, for example, potentially represent a safe place to consume. Cannabis shouldn’t be consumed anywhere that cigarettes aren’t consumed, but if the goal is safe public consumption, we have work to do in Portland,” Mayor Wheeler said at the event in 2016.
When we voted to regulate cannabis, it was because we wanted to let the thousands of users in Oregon come out of the closet and to be seen as the productive contributors to society that we are. After regulation, when seeking special permitting for public event cannabis consumption, we find ourselves pushed back into those same old closets by fear-motivated regulators who still see us as criminals getting away with something.
Alcohol drinkers can drink in public at bars, restaurants, and specially permitted park events, specifically the Holiday Ale Fest, an alcohol consumption event held in Pioneer Square for the past 15 years.
Cannabis consumers should be allowed the same opportunity. Please support special permitting for social cannabis clubs and special permitting for events for public cannabis consumption.
The event is sponsored by Oregon NORML, NORML Women’s Alliance, Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, Loney Law Group, Green Leaf Lab, LyonPride Music, KBOO Community Radio, 420Radio, Stoney Girl Gardens, Oregon Grown Gift Shop and Cannabis Corner.
Who: Nearly three hundred cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the annual Global Cannabis March.
What: 19th Annual Global Cannabis March / Oregon Cannabis Festival Saturday, May 5, 2018 – 12:00pm-5pm
Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square – 701 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
Why: To bring an end the failed war on cannabis!