Here’s how the Oregon Assoc reported the meeting and their takeaways. We’ve also included other media references to the meeting which seems to have got a reasonable amount of press attention
Yesterday the Oregon Cannabis Association was invited to participate in, and present at, the United States Attorney’s Cannabis Summit.
With a broad range of law enforcement (DEA, FBI, Port of Portland, IRS, District Attorneys and many others) along with United States Attorneys from across the west coast, the Governor’s office, Association of Cities and Counties, OLCC, OHA and other stakeholders, this all day meeting was the first of its kind. Conceived of, and led by, United States Attorney Billy Williams in response to the rescinding of the Cole Memorandum, the meeting appeared to be a step in the right direction towards collaboration in addressing how to approach cannabis regulation and enforcement under the Trump administration. This could have looked a lot different with no seats at the table for the cannabis industry.
The OCA’s presentation focused almost entirely on the benefits of cannabis legalization including jobs, tax revenue, decreased crime and the positive impact legalization has had on the opioid epidemic. Our presentation also acknowledged that the OLCC and OHA both need additional funding, which we will support at the legislature, and that local governments are continuing to struggle with regulation. We also recognized that there is overproduction in all markets leading to price and market pressure which may result in diversion of product although that should not be a forgone conclusion. The OCA repeatedly urged the room full of law enforcement to focus on funding agencies and local governments as well as administrative action instead of charging people with crimes- a vote for 91 was a vote to end the war on drugs as it relates to cannabis. Additionally, we pushed for banking reform and reminded all participants that the way to end concerns over diversion and an illegal market is to end federal prohibition.
Here are our significant takeaways:
1. United States Attorney Billy Williams does not appear to be inclined to shut down the regulated market but is extremely interested in ensuring that participants in both the OLCC and OHA programs follow the law.
2. Rural Oregon, which had a large group of both elected and citizen representatives present- Josephine, Jackson, Deschutes included- are extremely frustrated with what they perceive as the negative impacts of cannabis legalization and the lack of enforcement support they have.
3. Southern Oregon is being carefully watched as a source for diversion and the OLCC and federal and state law enforcement have established a new task force to address this issue.
4. Mr. Williams strongly believes that there is over-production in all markets- OLCC, OHA and the unregulated market- and that the Legislature and the agencies need to address this promptly. There were also a number of concerns around tracking and whether it was sufficient under both OLCC and OHA- particularly as it relates to destruction of product under OLCC and inspections under OHA.
5. It is also extremely clear that federal and state law enforcement believes that cannabis poses a public safety threat and that legalization has not curbed “cartels” and other violent crime associated with cannabis (contrary to evidence we presented). It is also clear that there are only so many resources to address unlawful cannabis activity in comparison to other more serious threats.
6. While the tribes were present, there were almost no people of color at the table even though they are historically and disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. We are hopeful that the next summit will have more people of color participating.
We are thankful to have been included, along with others, in this historic meeting. We also applaud Mr. Williams for bringing everyone together- he absolutely did not have to. It is clear that there is much work to be done not just in this state but to protect all other states that have some form of cannabis legalization and states that have no access. Organizationally, the OCA will continue to stay involved and vigilant and continue to keep you updated.
*Please note that we can not do this work without your membership. Consider joining us in the fight at www.orcannabisassociation.org
The Oregon Cannabis Association
Title: US prosecutor: Oregon has big pot overproduction problem
Date: 3 February 2018
PORTLAND, Ore. >> Oregon’s top federal prosecutor said Friday the state has a “formidable” problem with marijuana overproduction that winds up on the black market and that he wants to work with state and local leaders and the pot industry to do something about it.
U.S. Attorney Billy Williams convened the unprecedented summit of influential federal law enforcement representatives, state officials and marijuana industry scions after Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew an Obama administration memo that had guided states with legalized weed on how to avoid federal scrutiny.
The meeting included representatives from 14 other U.S. attorney’s offices, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Nine U.S. attorneys attended in person, including those from California, Washington, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada.
Title: Oregon’s top prosecutor holds marijuana summit to address ‘massive’ pot surplus
Author: Chicago Tribune
Date: 2 February 2018
Oregon’s top federal prosecutor will hold a marijuana summit Friday to hear how the state, law enforcement, tribal and industry leaders plan to address a pot surplus that he says has wound up on the black market in other states and is fueling crime.
U.S. Attorney Billy Williams laid out his plans for the unprecedented event in a recent newspaper column , saying Oregon has a “massive marijuana overproduction problem” that is attracting cartels and criminal networks and sparking money laundering, violence and environmental woes.
The column came shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month rescinded an Obama administration memo that outlined the steps states with legalized cannabis could take to avoid scrutiny under federal law, where marijuana remains illegal.
Title: Oregon has big pot overproduction problem, U.S. attorney says
Author: Seattle Times
Date: 3 February 2018
There is general agreement that Oregon pot ends up in other states. But it’s hard to say if smuggling has gotten worse in Oregon — where illicit pot farmers thrived long before legalization — or how much of the marijuana leaving the state filters out from the legal side