These are good days to be a sociable medical marijuana user. The Obama administration announced a few months ago that marijuana dispensaries acting in accordance with state law won’t be prosecuted. And a few weeks ago the Justice Department released a fuller memorandum outlining their new priorities:
For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.
A few local groups were eager to hear this national news. Last month, the state’s first private medical marijuana club (or “vaporizer lounge”) opened in Southeast Portland. And the second such club, sponsored by Oregon NORML, is opening next week.
These are private clubs, and there are restrictions: first and foremost you must be an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholder as a patient, a caregiver, or a grower. And if you want to gain access to the new club — in a restaurant called Rumpspankers in Northeast Portland — you’ll also have to become a member of Oregon NORML.
Anti-marijuana activists see all of this as one more example of medical marijuana being used to circumvent pot prohibitions. And they hope to put an initiative on the 2010 ballot to repeal Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act.
If you’re a medical marijuana user, are you interested in visiting one of the new cafes? How would smoking in a cafe be different for you than, say, inviting other card-carrying friends over to house for a few hours?
If you’re against the medical use of marijuana, what would it mean to you to have a cafe in your neighborhood?
And what effect might these clubs have on the movement to decriminalize (or even legalize) marijuana use?
UPDATE: We’ll start the show talking about the anti-trust suit against Intel with Matthew Kish of the Portland Business Journal.
- Steve Geiger: Owner of High-Way 420
- Tom Bergin: Clatsop County sheriff and one of three chief petitioners for a 2010 initiative to repeal Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act
- Madeline Martinez: Executive director of Oregon NORML and a medical marijuana patient, caregiver and grower
- Mike Regan: Police commander for El Cerrito Police Department and associate member of the California Chiefs Medical Marijuana Task Force