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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204


June 11, 2020-Welcome Dasheeda Dawson, New Cannabis Program Supervisor!

 

 

Please join us in welcoming Dasheeda Dawson in her new role as Cannabis Program Supervisor. She has  15+ years of business development, strategic management, and brand marketing experience. More recently, she has worked as an industry educator, senior executive leader, and strategy expert for multiple cannabis businesses, municipalities, and media outlets across the country.

In the coming months, Ms. Dawson will invite you to a conversation about her new role and specifically address the regulatory and licensing aspects of the Cannabis Program. Considering our nation’s current conversations about systemic racism and policing brutality, Ms. Dawson wanted to introduce herself as well as provide a statement on cannabis’ historical role in suppressing the rights of Black, brown and indigenous communities. 

 Click here to read Dasheeda Dawson's full statement 

Feb.14 2020- statewide social equity framework for cannabis licensing and reinvestment of cannabis tax revenue (HB 4088)

The City of Portland supports Social and Racial Equity and understands the need for a statewide Cannabis Social Equity Framework. On February 3, 2020 the Cannabis Program provided written and public testimony in support, with amendments, of HB 4088 a statewide social equity framework for cannabis licensing and reinvestments of tax revenue, a House Bill introduced earlier this month by Representative Fahey.

Civic Life’s Bureau Director, Suk Rhee, wrote “ As part of the City’s stakeholder engagement process, we have learned that a comprehensive framework must extend beyond  cannabis business licensing and include institutional policy change and reinvestment in communities and individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis…”

Cannabis Program Licensing Coordinator, Christina Coursey, provided public testimony respectfully encouraging the State to develop a more comprehensive, robust social equity framework that also included additional reductions to support small cannabis businesses. “The essence of small, local, Oregon craft cannabis businesses is quickly diminishing to larger corporations in Canada, California, New York, and Florida…”

 If you would like to view the full written and  public testimonies the links can be found below. 

Public Testimonies 

Civic Life's Written Testimony 

Aug. 22, 2019 - Green Hop holds Community Block Party

Picture of Green Hop's Block party.

On Sat. Aug. 17, 2019, Portland cannabis Retailer Green Hop held their second annual block party for the community in Northeast Portland.

Branded as the world’s first historical hip-hop cannabis Retailer in a traditionally black Portland neighborhood, Green Hop is known not only for their retail cannabis business, but for the work they facilitate through the Green Hop Academy.

The academy is a workforce incubator whose mission is to racially diversify the cannabis industry with enhanced personal trainings and apprenticeship programs.

Funded in part by a portion of the City of Portland’s 3% local tax on retail cannabis sales, Green Hop Academy links historically underserved populations with knowledge of the cannabis industry from the growth of the plant to the sales of the products.

With vendors, live music performances from local artists, and games for all, Green Hops’ Block Party was a family-friendly event, and all ages were welcome.

As the Cannabis Program’s Administrative Coordinator and a native Portlander, I had a grand time listening to fresh hip music, seeing community members come together, and last but certainly not least, witnessing a local black-owned business and one of the City’s grantees make a difference for the community, the industry, and for the culture.

For more information about Green Hop Academy, please visit gogreenhop.com/academy

- Arainnia Brown, Administrative Coordinator, City of Portland Cannabis Program

 

June 10, 2019 - Cannabis Program Supports Cannabis Export Bill (SB 582)

Cannabis with receipt 2

Last week, the City of Portland's Cannabis Program sent a letter in support of SB 582, a bill in the Oregon Legislature that would create a legal framework for Oregon to export cannabis to other states that regulate legal cannabis business activity.

The bill would legalize "cross-jurisdictional delivery" of cannabis or cannabis items between Oregon and other states once allowed by Federal law or the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and "must ensure enforceable public health and safety standards."

"SB 582-A allows Oregon to prepare for a future where Oregon’s high-quality cannabis can be shared with the rest of the country, much like our craft wine and beer industry," wrote Cannabis Program Supervisor Brandon Goldner. "And as regulators and policymakers, we need to do everything we can to make that transition as smooth as possible. This bill is a step in that direction."

SB 582 is currently scheduled for 2nd reading on the House floor after passing Senate and House committees.

For a link to the complete bill, please click here.

For a link to the Cannabis Program's letter in support of SB 582, please click here.

The full text of the Cannabis Program's letter in support of SB 582 is below.


 

Chair Holvey and Members of the Committee:

The Oregon cannabis business marketplace is still in its nascent stages. And it’s easy to forget, especially if you’re swimming in cannabis policy and regulation full-time, that the entire world of legal, regulated cannabis is still new, changing, and developing.

With that change and adaptation comes a responsibility to not only think about what’s happening now, but what will be happening in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

Senate Bill 582-A reflects a commitment to that forward-thinking responsibility.

Positioning the State of Oregon to export legal, regulated cannabis with other states will not only benefit our regional craft cannabis industry, but is smart, prudent policy. There are few business communities that have 50 different, separate, closed-off regulatory frameworks for a given good or service. While we understand that with that status of cannabis at the Federal level that a state-by-state approach is necessary today, we owe it to our constituents, our workers, and Oregon’s craft cannabis industry to think about what comes tomorrow.

SB 582-A allows Oregon to prepare for a future where Oregon’s high-quality cannabis can be shared with the rest of the country, much like our craft wine and beer industry. And as regulators and policymakers, we need to do everything we can to make that transition as smooth as possible. This bill is a step in that direction.

We urge your support for SB 582-A.

Thank you,

Brandon Goldner, Supervisor, Cannabis Program, City of Portland

May 28, 2019 - City of Portland Responds to Dept. of Homeland Security

Picture of Portland City Council

The Mayor and all four commissioners of the City of Portland, Oregon recently responded to a Policy Alert from the Department of Homeland Security that could negatively affect the immigration status of those working in the legal and regulated cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Program strongly supports Portland City Council in rejecting this harmful and asinine Federal policy guidance. We need to do everything we can to call out injustice in cannabis policies and enforcement at every level.

This Policy Alert is a clear step backwards toward the same racist and counter-productive thinking that led to the harassment and jailing of vulnerable communities, and particularly communities of color, when cannabis was not legal.

For a link to the signed letter in response to the Policy Alert, please click here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/733012

The full text of the letter in response to the Policy Alert is below.


May 16, 2018

The Honorable Director L. Francis Cissna

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Office of the Director

MS 2000

Washington, DC 20529-2000

RE: April 19, 2019 Policy Guidance - Controlled Substance-Related Activity and Good Moral Character Determinations

Director Cissna:

As the Portland City Council, we are alarmed at the policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual your office issued on April 19, 2019, “Controlled Substance-Related Activity and Good Moral Character Determinations.”

We reject the premise that law-abiding business owners and community members deserve to be targeted by this guidance. This action is irrelevant and detrimental to creating a safe, predictable, free market.

The policy guidance states, “…violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing GMC [good moral character], for naturalization even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law.”

It is outrageous to assert that a person following state law would not demonstrate good moral character.

The State of Oregon and the City of Portland have enacted laws governing cannabis businesses that are explicitly designed to encourage participation in a legal, regulated cannabis marketplace. These laws ensure that the product is tracked, well-managed, and safe to be used.

The legal cannabis industry must follow all the same rules that other businesses do to operate. More to the point, Extract Processors are required by City code to have all final commercial building permits, mechanical permits, and other trade permits before getting a license from Portland’s Cannabis Program, and are required by state law and rule to meet a similar standard. Portland City Code goes a little beyond State requirements for other kinds of Processors and for Producers, who must have at least an issued commercial building permit to obtain a Cannabis Program license.

Oregon’s legal cannabis business community is subject to laws and policies including, but not limited to:

  • International Fire Code
  • Product testing for consumer safety through the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program
  • Oregon Structural Specialty Code
  • Compliance with the Oregon Department of Revenue
  • Regulation by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission
  • Meet State requirements to make products less appealing and less accessible to children

The City does not believe that participation in the free market should be discouraged because of one’s race, culture, gender identity, or immigration status. This is why we strongly support a diverse, multicultural legal cannabis marketplace.

The outcomes of cannabis prohibition – and yes, even current cannabis regulations – are not equitable. Historic enforcement and prosecution of drug-related crimes disproportionately affected communities of color, and there are State restrictions on getting licensed if you have certain convictions, increasing the hurdle to licensure for communities of color. One estimation showed that less than 1% of cannabis retail businesses are currently owned by African Americans.

The City’s Cannabis Program is taking action to address these inequities, including:

  • Establishing a Social Equity Program in the Cannabis Program to reduce fees for businesses whose staff or owners have a cannabis conviction, and for businesses who contract with those on the Oregon’s Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, and Emerging Small Business list
  • Convening Portland’s cannabis policy public advisory body this year with an explicit focus to recommend how Portland can support equitable policies and outcomes
  • Managing of $490,000 in Social Equity Grants funded by a portion of Portland’s local tax on retail cannabis sales
  • Advocating for changes in state law to create legal, safe spaces for adults to consume cannabis, which would make it less likely for racial minorities to be targeted by current restrictions on cannabis consumption in public

What Portland needs is a Federal partner in these efforts. Instead, your office’s policy guidance is racist in both intent and outcome and makes our work toward an equitable business community more difficult.

Finally, any policy guidance that threatens one’s immigration or citizenship status for following state and local law is not only immoral, it’s counter-productive. By issuing this policy guidance, individuals will be forced to participate in the same unlawful, untracked cannabis marketplace that Oregon’s and Portland’s laws were meant to bring into regulation.

We ask that you rescind this guidance.

Sincerely,

Ted Wheeler, Mayor

Amanda Fritz, Commissioner

Nick Fish, Commissioner

Jo Ann Hardesty, Commissioner

Chloe Eudaly, Commissioner