The Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference not only brings together cannabis law reform advocates and entrepreneurs, but also members of the media that cover all things marijuana day in and day out. The Marijuana Media Panel includes Doug McVay and Russ Belville, two of the most knowledgable marijuana law reform advocates working in "alternative" media as well as Noelle Crombie, staff writer covering the marijuana beat for The Oregonian. From my blog at Marijuana Politics:
Likely due to the demographics of their readers, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Denver Post have blogs devoted to marijuana news and culture, Smell the Truth and The Cannabist, respectively. While The Oregonian hasn't launched a separate blog (yet), the Northwest's largest paper does have an experienced reporter, Noelle Crombie, covering marijuana news and you can see the latest marijuana news pertaining both to Oregon and the world at large at www.oregonlive.com/marijuana (I certainly read it every day). The Cannabist's Ricardo Baca and Smell the Truth's Dean Arbit and David Downs spoke about marijuana and the media at the recent International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) and I am so pleased that Noelle Crombie will be speaking about the media's marijuana coverage at the upcoming Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) on March 15th in Eugene on a panel along with Doug McVay and 420Radio.org's Russ Belville (who also blogs here at Marijuana Politics.)
Noelle Crombie, who worked for The Day in New London, Connecticut previously, has covered cannabis issues the last three years at The Oregonian. Before marijuana issues became her beat, she covered crime and federal courts. Crombie has also hosted marijuana-related events for The Oregonian's Speaker Series. She and cannabis business attorney Hilary Bricken tackledWashington State's legal marijuana system and its implications for Oregon last August. I was fortunate to be a panelist on a marijuana legalization forum that she hosted following the passage of Measure 91 last November. Crombie and I shared the small screen as guests onKATU's Your Voice, Your Vote last November to discuss Oregon's next steps after 56% of voters voted to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.
I am often asked what I think about Noelle Crombie's coverage of marijuana, and while I don't necessarily agree with everything she prints, I honestly answer that I feel she is doing her best to be unbiased and fair (you can't really ask for anything more than a staff reporter). I am looking forward to her take on marijuana and the media at the OMMBC and advocates and entrepreneurs alike can certainly learn a lot of valuable information about how the media covers marijuana at this conference. The media shapes how consumers and voters see the world while sometimes reflecting the world and I don't think that it's a coincidence that media coverage has gotten more fair when marijuana is becoming more mainstream. Whether the media is shaping public opinion or public opinion is shaping the media, it is important to understand the work they do and the decision making process that goes into the news stories published.
If you are involved with the Oregon marijuana industry in any way, I encourage you to make it to the OMMBC if you are able. The event brings together experts from Oregon, but also former New Mexico Governor and Harborside's Steve DeAngelo will be speaking. Throw in The Oregonian's marijuana beat reporter with comedy from Ngaio Bealum and music from Del the Funky Homosapien, and you truly get an educational and networking event like no other conference in Oregon.