Anyone familiar with my political activism knows that civil liberties and social justice are my primary focuses in the cannabis field. I want to end the arrest and prosecution of the cannabis community, when they aren't hurting anyone else. I am proud to have helped lead three successful marijuana law reform measures to victory at the ballot box (lost two elections, but no need to dwell on those), including having the honor to co-author and serve as Chief Petitioner of Measure 91 in Oregon.
However, I understand the political and practical realities of sensible regulations and good neighbor business practices for the cannabis movement. Cannabis consumers need those who cultivate, process and sale cannabis while voters and communities need assurances that marijuana will be regulated in a way that addresses their concerns regarding kids and public safety. Creating jobs and generating tax revenue also appeal to many voters. Additionally, when political advocates and the industry work together, positive cannabis law reform goes from theory to reality. For these reasons and others, I am proud to help organize the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) as well as the International Cannabis Business Conference (proudly named The Weed Blog's Marijuana Event of 2014).
The OMMBC returns to Eugene this year on March 15-16 at the downtown Hilton. The Oregon cannabis industry is in a transitional phase as the Oregon state Legislature and Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) are working on implementing the commercial regulations following the passage of the Measure 91 legalization measure. While we await for the Measure 91 growers, processors and retailers, there are more than 200 licensed medical marijuana facilities across the state that are being served by amazing Oregon cannabis cultivators and processors.
While some, including Governor John Kitzhaber, the OLCC, Association of Oregon Counties, League of Oregon Cities and Oregon's various law enforcement agencies are hoping to merge the medical program with the adult use system under the OLCC (if not disband the entire medical program altogether), most of the cannabis community, myself included, are working hard to keep the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program intact and separate, just as over 56% of voters intended when passing Measure 91. The OMMBC will provide a political update regarding the status of the OMMP and Measure 91 rules as well as hands-on advice for marijuana entrepreneurs and advocates.
The conference's keynote speaker is Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and presidential candidate who has now moved into the cannabis industry as CEO of Cannabis Sativa. Other notable speakers include Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside Medical Center, the largest cannabis dispensary in the world and the ArcView Group, the nation's preeminent cannabis investor group; Tom Burns, who has now been tasked with implementing Oregon's Measure 91 legalization system after handling the state's implementation of state licensed and regulated medical marijuana facilities; Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski, Chair of the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee and Co-Vice Chair of the Oregon Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91; Jeremy Sacket of Cascadia Labs and Todd Dalotto of CAN Research will provide information on the testing of cannabis and the efforts to regulate the testing industry; and long-time cannabis law reform advocate and criminal defense attorney, Leland Berger, who founded Oregon Cannabis Compliance Counsel to help cannabis entrepreneurs meet all of the necessary rules and regulations imposed by all levels of government.
Entertainment will be provided to all attendees by hip-hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien at Cozmic Pizza on March 15, it is a severe understatement to say that I am very excited about that performance. Many exhibitors and vendors will be on hand, providing tremendous networking opportunities for those in the cannabis industry or thinking of joining. I am certainly looking forward to this year's event and I hope to see you there.
WHAT: Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) Eugene
WHO: Entrepreneurs, dispensaries, growers, professionals, those interested in the industry
WHEN: Sunday, March 15, 10am - 5pm
Monday, March 16, 10am - 5pm
WHERE: Hilton in Downtown Eugene, 66 E. 6th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401
TICKETS: Conference badges are currently $299 and available online at www.ommbc.com/tickets/; in person at Northwest Alternative Health locations in Eugene and Medford, as well as Ashland Alternative Health. Or people may call 1-888-920-6076 to purchase with a credit or debit card.