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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 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

 

April 12, 2019 - Cannabis Social Equity Grants funds available!

Cannabis Social Equity Grants call banner

The City of Portland invites you to apply for the 2019 Cannabis Social Equity Grants!

This is a restorative justice and community reinvestment grant opportunity funded by the City of Portland’s 3% local tax on retail cannabis sales.

There is $700k available for Cannabis Social Equity Grants, which can be used for the following purposes according to Ballot Measure 29-180:

"Support for neighborhood small businesses, especially women-owned and minority-owned businesses, including but not limited to business incubator programs, management training, and job training opportunities; and providing economic opportunity and education to communities disproportionately-impacted by cannabis prohibition."

Of that $700,000, Prosper Portland will administer $210,000 to provide industry support and technical assistance to minority-owned cannabis businesses.

The Cannabis Program, in the Office of Community & Civic Life, will award the remaining $490,000 in a 8 to 10-month grants to “promote small businesses, especially women-owned and minority-owned businesses” and “provide economic opportunity and education to communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

For this funding opportunity (fiscal year 2018-19), applicants may request funding for projects and programs ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 in the following priority areas:

  • Record clearing and expungement
  • Workforce development
  • Re-entry housing services

If you have experience or expertise in one of the priority areas, foster interconnected communities, and provide multicultural and community-specific engagement, this might be the grant for you!

Non-profit and for-profit entities of any size are encouraged to apply.

You can use this link to download the 2019 Cannabis Social Equity Grants announcement and application, or click here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/728731

The timeline for awarding the $490,000 in grants is as follows:

  • April 12, 2019: Grants application process opens
  • May 11, 2019: Information Session about grants application process (MORE INFO SOON)
  • May 24, 2019: Grants application process closes
  • BEYOND MAY 2019: Grant applicants notified of decision; grant agreements drafted and signed; grant agreements to Portland City Council for approval; notice to proceed given to successful applicants; work begins 

 

Join us for one of our information sessions to learn more:

April 26, 2019  -  10 to 11 am at East Portland Community Office (1017 NE 117th Ave, Portland OR 97220)

May 2, 2019  -  4 to 5 pm at Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (4815 NE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97211)

Applications are due Friday, May 24, 2019 by 11:59 pm Pacific

Questions? Please visit portlandoregon.gov/CannabisTax for more information, or contact Cannabis Program Policy Coordinator Kimie Ueoka at 503-823-2094 or email Kimie.Ueoka@portlandoregon.gov

Feb. 28, 2019 - Video: Supporting Social Consumption of Cannabis

Brandon Goldner testimony SB 639

On Thu. Feb. 28, 2019, City of Portland Cannabis Program Supervisor Brandon Goldner testified in support of Senate Bill 639, which would create legal, regulated spaces for adults to consume cannabis outside of the home in Oregon. We believe it's far past time for adults in Oregon to have spaces to consume cannabis together, safely and legally.

See the video above or by clicking this link to go the video on YouTube, and see below for the full text:

***

The City has been supportive of a statewide framework for the social consumption of cannabis since 2017 for a number of reasons, and you can read more about all of those in the written testimony we provided today.

But I wanted to hit on a few important points, in person, for why the City supports this bill.

First, this is an equity issue.

We know that cannabis prohibition disproportionately affects underrepresented communities… but particularly communities of color.

By providing a safe, legal, and regulated space for adults to consume cannabis, it becomes much less likely that those same communities would continue to be affected by current restrictions on consuming cannabis in public.

Second: this bill would help vulnerable Oregonians, including people with disabilities and Veterans, who are Medical Marijuana patients, but may not be able to consume their doctor-prescribed medication in their own homes

Third, SB 639 would offer parents a regulated, safe space to consume cannabis away from children; with other adults; and with those who can provide education about the effects and best practices of consuming cannabis.

In short: this bill would help regulators like the City of Portland more efficiently and effectively apply the rules; would give consumers more options; would help Oregon’s craft cannabis industry; and protect Oregon’s most vulnerable populations, including youth, medical patients, and those most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Thank you for your time.

Feb. 21, 2019 - Meeting of Cannabis Policy Oversight Team

CPOT Banner

The City of Portland's Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) met for the first time in 2019 on Thu. Feb, 21!

CPOT is Portland's public advisory body charged with discussing and developing policies that support equitable access and outcomes for the cannabis industry, cannabis consumers, and all City of Portland residents.

The meeting audio, agenda, materials, and minutes - for this meeting and for all future meetings - can be found at portlandoregon.gov/cannabis/CPOT, as well as the schedule for upcoming meetings, and more information about CPOT and its members.

Future CPOT meetings will be held on the second Thursday of each month at 6pm at Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 92701.

If you'd like to be added to our email list notifying recipients of upcoming meetings and materials from past meetings, please email cannabis@portlandoregon.gov with the subject line "Add to email list."