Rise Up Expungement Day on August 27th in Portland!

Legalizing cannabis in Oregon was a great achievement that is already paying dividends for our state by creating jobs and generating revenue. However, the number one reason to legalize cannabis was to keep people from suffering from unnecessary and harmful consequences for using a substance less addictive and lethal than alcohol and tobacco.

We are extremely proud of joining forces with the Bus Project to help with the Fresh Start campaign that successfully passed legislation allowing for the expungement of past marijuana offenses. Unfortunately, too many people are unable to afford the lawyer and court fees that it costs to have their offenses expunged. Thankfully, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and Marley Natural™ are stepping up to help folks expunge their past Oregon cannabis convictions, free of charge, on August 27th at the Village Ballroom, located at 704 NE Dekum in Portland, from 11am to 2pm.

Please see the press release sent out by MCBA and Marley Natural™ below. If you have a cannabis conviction that can be expunged or reduced, sign up at www.minoritycannabis.org and please, spread the word.

Minority Cannabis Business Association and Marley Natural™ are clearing cannabis convictions in legal-market cannabis states. When cannabis is made legal, people convicted of cannabis offenses prior to legalization still carry the negative stigma of cannabis convictions. While the cannabis industry profits, a specific group of people targeted in the failed war on drugs continue to suffer the negative consequences of cannabis criminal records, including denied jobs, financial aid, housing, and, in some cases, the right to vote.

Part of MCBA’s mission is to combat the consequences of the war on drugs. In service to that mission, we are extremely proud to announce Rise Up™ Oregon Expungement Day brought by MCBA™ and Marley Natural™. On August 27, Rise Up Expungement Day participants will, within 2 hours, complete all steps necessary to file their request for expungement with the state of Oregon, including covering all costs and fees.

Marley Natural and MCBA developed the Rise Up Expungement program together to further both organizations’ missions of lifting up communities that have been harmed by the social injustices of cannabis prohibition. Marley Natural’s Rise Up™ program projects are committed to positive social change. As agents for change, Marley Natural honors Bob Marley’s legacy by adding his beliefs to the conversation about cannabis.

The Minority Cannabis Business association is proud to have a platinum sponsor with the legacy and history of Marley Natural. Says MCBA Chairman Jesce Horton, “With Marley Natural as our partner, we are building the resources needed to make a measurable positive impact in communities impacted by the war on drugs. By giving back through Rise Up, Marley Natural is an example of a cannabis company that is getting all aspects of cannabis business right so we don’t just build another industry; we build a better industry.”

Founded in 2015, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first non-profit organization created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, employees, and patients/ consumers. The organization currently serves members from across the United States and Canada. MCBA’s mission is to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs. For more information, visit www.minoritycannabis.org.

Marley Natural is the official Bob Marley cannabis brand, crafted with deep respect for Bob’s legacy and belief in the positive potential of the herb to heal and inspire us. Starting on August 24, 2016, the brand’s all-natural, sun-grown premium cannabis products, as well as smoking and other lifestyle accessories, will be available at all Serra and Nectar dispensaries in the Portland metro area and Eugene. To learn more about Marley Natural, visit http://www.MarleyNatural.com or follow the conversation on social media using @MarleyNatural and #MarleyNatural.

rise up expungement

DEA Will Allow More Medical Cannabis Cultivation Sites, Keep Marijuana at Schedule I

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a new policy this morning that many advocates have considered a mixed bag. The DEA announced that they would allow more universities to produce medical cannabis for research purposes, but that marijuana would ridiculously remain a Schedule I controlled substance (the same classification as heroin, deemed to not have any medicinal value). While many marijuana law reformers were hopeful that the federal government would reschedule marijuana down to a Schedule II substance, a classification that includes methamphetamine and cocaine, but a Schedule II classification wouldn’t have much of a benefit for the cannabis community and industry.

A Schedule II classification wouldn’t have made medical marijuana legal federally nor would it have fixed our nation’s ridiculous tax and banking laws that make state-regulated cannabis businesses difficult and dangerous to operate. There may be a symbolic victory in the federal government announcing that marijuana did indeed have medical value, there aren’t many practical benefits to the Schedule II classification.

The new policy of allowing more medical marijuana cultivation could eventually have a big impact on legalizing medical cannabis at the federal level. Research has been stymied by the fact that the only approved marijuana had to be produced at the federally-approved site at the University of Mississippi. With more medical marijuana available, more research can be conducted on more strains and for more conditions. As more research is done, more voters and politicians will realize the need to legalize medical marijuana across the nation, and eventually, end cannabis prohibition altogether.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, along with Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have issued statements lambasting the decision of the DEA to keep marijuana a Schedule I substance, and they are all doing amazing work helping lead the way towards a sensible cannabis policy. It was also great to see Oregon Governor Kate Brown decry the DEA’s nonsensical policy as well.

The fight to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances now moves to Congress where there just happens to be a bill that would declassify cannabis from the scheduled list, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders. Let’s get some co-sponsors of this common sense bill in the Senate, a companion piece in the House and work to convince Congress to end the failed and harmful war on cannabis.

Help the Portland City Council Admit It Wrapped Cannabis Businesses in Too Much Red Tape

Back on May 18th, we warned that the cannabis business regulations imposed in Portland were going too far. Since then, we have been joined by Congressman Earl Blumenauer and many others in calling for the Portland City Council to roll back burdensome, unnecessary regulations.

The Willamette Week has published an article detailing many of these harmful regulations. The alternative weekly listed five issues that are troubling businesses and we agree with these concerns.

1. Portland slams business owners with fees.
Retail shops applying for medical and recreational licenses from the city pay $975 in fees for each application, even though the forms are identical. They then pay $3,500 and $4,975 license fees annually. That’s on top of the license fees they pay to the state. No other Portland business faces these high fees. New bars, for example, pay $100 application fees and $35 annual renewal fees.

2. Portland imposes requirements that don’t apply to other businesses.
As a condition of their city licenses, pot businesses operating in commercial zones also have to obtain commercial building permits. Other businesses don’t automatically face this hurdle, says Ross Caron, a spokesman for the Bureau of Development Services.

3. Portland’s rules duplicate the state’s.
State officials, for example, ask shops for security plans. So does the city. The state requires owners to detail how they’ll keep minors from buying pot. Portland seeks similar plans, which also call for dealing with complaints from neighbors.

4. Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement gets things backward.
To apply for a state license to sell recreational pot, owners need what’s called a land-use compatibility statement from the city. To get that, owners must pay the $975 recreational marijuana application fee and the $4,975 license fee. That means they’re paying for a city license before knowing whether they’ll be approved. “It’s unclear what happens from there,” says Meghan Walstatter of Pure Green.

5. Portland prohibits activities that the state allows.
Portland voters overwhelmingly approved legalization, but city rules are more restrictive than state regulations. For example, Portland doesn’t allow pot delivery to homes even though the state does.

Please email the Portland City Council and urge them to remove these burdensome regulations and to treat cannabis businesses the same as any other business.


We’ll be monitoring how the city proceeds and will keep our supporters informed. If you need similar action in your city, please email our executive director, Anthony Johnson, at anthony@newapproachoregon.com. If you are able, please contribute to our efforts to defeat bans and implement sound cannabis policies across the state.

Happy Anniversary Oregon

Happy One-Year Anniversary of Legal Cannabis, Oregon!

After one year of legalized marijuana, it is clear that Oregon voters got it right.

Millions of dollars have been added to the state’s coffers, thousands of jobs have been created and many lives have been improved.

Oregon can celebrate one year of legal marijuana, knowing that we have better prioritized law enforcement resources and raised revenue for important social services. The state has been an example for the rest of the country to follow as more and more voters and public officials understand that marijuana regulation is a much better policy than prohibition.

Thanks to over 56% of Oregon voters and all of New Approach Oregon’s supporters, we have made history and become national leaders in marijuana law reform. Cannabis commerce has reportedly created more than 2,000 jobs to go along with about $15 million in new tax revenue after just the first few months of taxed sales. Later in the fall, more marijuana products will be available to all adults over the age of 21, likely increasing the tax dollars being collected.

More important than tax dollars are the lives that have been improved due to legalization and its aftermath. We are proud to have helped lead the legislative efforts that reduced marijuana-related criminal penalties even further and allowed for the expungement of past marijuana offenses. More than 500 Oregonians have taken advantage of expunging old marijuana penalties from their records since Measure 91 passed in 2014

Oregon still needs to bring much of the state into the regulated system as too many localities have banned regulated marijuana sales. These bans hurt the statewide system and deny local residents much-needed jobs and tax dollars. Additionally, the state still needs to reduce more marijuana penalties; ensure that low-income patients have safe access to medicine; and allow social consumption locations for adults.

Medical marijuana fees and regulations remain too burdensome for many patients and some local and state regulations are restricting the ability of small business owners to thrive. We will continue working on these issues until Oregon has gotten it right, all across the state.

Clearly, the sky hasn’t fallen as Oregon has benefited from the new jobs and revenue. As the legalization experience continues to be positive, public officials across the state should remove barriers that exist for patients, farmers and businesses and bring more and more people into the regulated system.

If you are able to donate, to help us fulfill the will of the voters and continue to improve Oregon’s marijuana laws, please make a contribution.

There is much more work to be done, but today, Oregon can be proud of being a true trailblazer. Thank you all for helping move Oregon, and our nation, away from failed Drug War policies.

If you are looking for potential locations to acquire cannabis or cannabis-infused products, we have some recommendations, as the dispensaries below have proven to be good actors and have pledged a portion of proceeds towards New Approach Oregon, so we can continue fighting for effective marijuana laws that will work for patients, consumers, and all Oregonians.

In Portland:
Five Zero Trees
10209 SE Division St, Building B, Suite 100
5336 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway

GroHi Station
14812 Se Powell

1917 SE 7th Ave
2231 W Burnside St.

Rip City Remedies
3325 SE Division St

In Eugene:
The Greener Side
1553 Oak St

Cannabliss’ Sorority House
588 E. 11th

In Springfield:
Grateful Meds
1401A Market St

In Bend:
1199 NW Wall St

1814 NE Division St

In Talent:
Grateful Meds
630 Highway 99

In Hood River:
Gorge Greenery
13 Oak St.
Hood River, OR 97031

What’s Next

As the Oregon Legislature and Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) implements Measure 91, New Approach Oregon has been monitoring the process and working to protect what Oregonian’s voted for. Learn More