I have lived my entire life in Oregon, and I know that when it comes to Oregon politics, industry, and just about everything else, the City of Portland largely leads the way. Portland is Oregon's largest city by far, and as such, is the center of Oregon's economy and political world. Whenever I travel and tell people I'm from Oregon, if they have been to my state before, virtually every time they say they visited Portland.
Portland is rapidly becoming a top destination for cannabis tourism because there's so much to do in the Portland area, and Oregon cannabis is cheap and top quality. Limited recreational marijuana sales started at the beginning of October 2015, and full implementation of a taxed and regulated system is expected later this year. Soon people will be able to travel to Portland and purchase everything from cannabis concentrates to cannabis lip balm to cannabis infused gummy worms.
All types of fantastic cannabis-based businesses are popping up all over Portland right now. To say that there are creative people in Portland is an understatement, and I am continually impressed with the things I see originate in Portland. One of the things that I predicted at the end of 2015 is that Portland, Oregon's marijuana industry will 'be discovered' in 2016 by the rest of America, and people will be coming from miles around.
But a lot of these things happening are largely tied to what type of Mayor is elected in Portland this year. Current Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is not seeking re-election, and there are four candidates looking to fill the position - Ted Wheeler, Jules Bailey, David Schor, and Sean Davis. I am not a resident of Portland, but if I was I would absolutely be voting for Ted Wheeler. And since the rest of Oregon is so tied to Portland for the previously mentioned reasons, I sure hope that Portland voters elect Ted Wheeler.
Ted Wheeler is currently Oregon's Treasurer, and as a sitting state treasurer he has been pressuring the federal government to provide clearer, more comprehensive banking reform to allow marijuana businesses to finally be able to access the country's banking system to serve vital business functions. Per Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB):
"I am respectfully calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to issue new guidance that basically give banks the assurance they need to accept legal marijuana customers without putting their charters in jeopardy or diminishing their access to Federal Deposit Insurance or otherwise imperiling their relationships with federal banking regulators," Wheeler said.
Without banking, pot businesses could be operating all-cash enterprises, which Wheeler said puts the industry at risk both in terms of accountability and public safety.
"This is a significant issue," Wheeler said. "Obviously not just for the state of Oregon. It's significant for other states that have a legalized and regulated marijuana market as well."
The excerpt is from an article from last summer. Since that time Ted Wheeler has met with members of Oregon's cannabis community on several occasions, including an event near the end of 2015. I haven't heard of any of his competitors reaching out to the cannabis community in a meaningful way, and certainly not to the extent that Ted Wheeler has. He genuinely cares about the success of Portland's rapidly growing cannabis industry, and has ideas of how to help it thrive. Below is a video response that Ted Wheeler gave in September of last year when asked how to create pragmatic cannabis policy in Portland:
Those are fantastic ideas, and are ones that are important for Portland's cannabis industry's success. Ted Wheeler is going to push for banking reform, which considering his background, carries a lot of weight. If he was pushing for it as Mayor of Portland, it would carry even more weight. That would not only benefit Portland and the State of Oregon, but also the industry nationwide. I'm urging all readers to support the Ted Wheeler campaign. You can find out more via the campaign's website, Ted Wheeler's Facebook page, on Twitter, and you can volunteer to help his campaign at this link here, and donate to his campaign at this link here.