Aug 14 2011

Paul Stanford and the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012


Paul Stanford of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation in Oregon discusses his history as a marijuana legalization activist, beginning with becoming the NORML coordinator for Washington State in 1982, his association with Jack Herer beginning in 1984, the current state of medical marijuana and the movement in Oregon, and the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012.

Canada on Cannabis – The show that believes the prohibition of marijuana is a crime against humanity

A somewhat different view of marijuana, medical marijuana, and the marijuana anti-prohibition movement.

Sundays, 6-8pm Pacific on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1 FM.Listen Live Online: Call-In: (831) 427-3772

Canada on Cannabis 024, broadcast 14 Aug 11:

0:06 – Oregon Cannabis Tax Act has 30,000 signatures, needs about 90,000 more to make the ballot. They have until July and are already a quarter of the way there. Colorado has 3 initiatives in the works, with 8 permutations of one of them. California has 3. One, maybe two in Indiana. One, maybe two, in Ohio.

0:14 – About 1996 Lanny Swerdlow contacted Stanford to do a show about marijuana, Cannabis Common Sense. Stanford had been in Portland since 1984. Just did show #596. October will be their 15th anniversary. Show was begun as support effort for cannabis legalization. Tried to run OCTA 3 times in 1990s. Each time they got about 50%-60% of the signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot. Casper Leitch began doing cable access programming in early 90s.

0:19 – The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF), of which Stanford is owner, grossed $4 million last year, one of the largest medical marijuana businesses in the country, and perhaps the world. Offices in 10 states.

0:23 – 1982 Stanford began correspondence with Kevin Zeese, and he became coordinator for Washington state NORML office. Zeese was national director of NORML at the time. 1984 met Jack Herer in L.A. First time Stanford saw information about industrial hemp. In 1984 there was an initiative to legalize marijuana in Oregon. Stanford moved to Oregon in August of 1984 to work on the legalization initiative. Herer moved to Oregon in October. They qualified in 1985 to be on the ballot in 1986, losing by a large margin. Herer wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes at Stanfords house, they lived about 3 blocks from each other.

0:31 – Stanford began working on law to legalize marijuana sales about 1988. He filed The Oregon Cannabis Control Act in 1990 but did not follow through. Filed again in 1994, 1996, and 1998. They got about 50%-60% of the signatures required to make the ballot. These were volunteer signature gathering campaigns. Oregon Medical Marijuana Act passed in 1998. Americans for Medical Rights, Dave Fratello, was primarily responsible for the wording of the medical marijuana initiative. Funded by Peter Lewis, John Sperling, and George Soros. They were the primary funders of all the initiatives.

Peron made marijuana arrests lowest priority in about 1991-92. This was the first time that had been done. George Zimmer of The Men’s Warehouse came up with the money at the last minute to make sure it made the ballot. And then Ethan Nadelmann, working with the Lindesmith Center at the time (which became the Drug Policy Alliance), got behind Prop. 215.

In Oregon, in 1997 there was a move to recriminalize simple possession marijuana passed by 70% of the legislature and signed by the governor. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize simple possession in 1973, making possession of less than an ounce an infraction. Stanford turned in 90,000 signatures to stop that law from going into effect. The initiative to invalidate recrimilazation was on the same ballot as the medical marijuana initiative in 1998.

0:41 – In 2003 Oregon Medical Marijuana Act was amended by legislature to increase limit to 24 plants and 24 ounces. 18 of those plants have to be less than a foot tall. Prior to this the limit was an ounce if the patient was not growing. If the patient was growing it was 3 mature plants, 4 immature plants, and an ounce of bud. Prior to this change a patient had an affirmative defense which meant if they had more than the limit they had a right to demonstrate the amount was required to meet their needs. Patients in Oregon no longer have an affirmative defense if they are arrested for exceeding the limits of 24 plants and 24 ounces.

Section 903 of the CSA (title 21 of the U.S. Code) states that state law trumps federal law. Patients in Oregon must have an ID card from the state, which costs $100. Fee is to be increased. (Oregon Cannabis Tax Act says explicitly that cannabis will be sold at farmers costs plus agencies expense to distribute it.) About 45,000 patients in Oregon and about 20,000 caregivers.

Oregon is a short-list state. Conditions other than those specified in Oregon Medical Marijuana Act must be approved by committee. This committee has stone-walled any attempt to add additional conditions for over ten years. Ed Glick tried for nearly a decade to add depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other psychiatric conditions. He ended up losing his job as a psychiatric nurse.

0:50 – Oregon has three types of cards: patient, caregiver, and grower. Every patient gets a patient card, a grower card, and the patient can also designate a caregiver. A “grower” can only grow for 4 patients. There is a limit on the number of caregivers. A caregiver can do anything a grower can do. Stanford is a caregiver for 30 patients. (I never was told what the limit on caregivers was.)

Oregon Medical Marijuana Act also prohibited smoking in public. Last year Oregon legislature directed the board of pharmacy to reschedule marijuana between schedule 2 and 5. First state to reschedule cannabis on the state Controlled Substances Schedule, to Schedule 2. Dispensaries are not legal in Oregon. Initiative in 2004 to legalize dispensaries failed with 43% yes vote and again in 2005 with 44% yes. However, there are currently about 100 dispensaries around the state and only one has been busted, “Wake and Bake” in Hillsborough about a month ago.

0:57 – Hawaii still has 3 mature plant, 4 immature, 3 ounce limits and is administered by the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Hawaii police. Stanford has an office in Hawaii. The numbers don’t add up, the plant and quantity limits. Stanford says the way to get around this is to hang up entire plant when you harvest, call it a mature plant, and only take 3 ounces off it at a time.

1:00 – Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012. Stanford discusses levels of law, explaining that the “whereases” are there to give the initiative a legal foundation in international law and constitutional law, and sovereign law. International & constitutional law are of equal weight or authority. Sovereign law, or natural rights, trumps international & constitutional law. They began drafting this initiative in the 1980s with these concepts in mind.

Unlike any other initiative, The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 explicitly addresses the legal underpinning of the initiative.

1:18 – The “Wherefores”.

Section 1. This Act shall operate uniformly throughout Oregon and fully replace and supersede all statutes, municipal charter enactments, and local ordinances relating to cannabis, except those relating to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

Sets up voluntary studies of cannabis users. No taxes currently in Oregon for medical cannabis.


Once this is legal I don’t see why anyone would go out and get a medical marijuana card. You should be able to grow your own without any license whatsoever and posses as much as you want without any artificial limit. You only need a permit for selling.”

Also legalizes the sale of seeds and starts. Anyone can sell seeds and starts.

Section creates state commission to regulate the sale of cannabis, license growers. Consist of 7 commissioners appointed by the governor to a 1 year term. Given until Feb 2013 to begin licensing growers. After this, 5 members of commission to be elected by licensed growers and 2 by governor. Where is there any mandate to license anybody? Further along, states licenses must be distributed equitably and they expect it to be similar to wine industry.

1:26 – Section 4, definitions.

Section 4. 474.005 Definitions. As used in this chapter:

(1) “Abuse” means repetitive or excessive drug use such that the individual fails to fulfill a statutory or common law duty, including but not limited to the duties owed by parents to children, by motorists to pedestrians and other motorists, and by employees to employers, fellow employees, and the public.

First time I’ve seen “abuse” defined. The government could drive a battleship through this if they were out to get you.

Does “abuse” include driving while medicated? Driving while using cannabis would fall under “abuse”. Stanford: the question should not be how much you use but whether or not you’re impaired. There is a video of Irv Rosenfeld smoking while driving.


When it’s legalized there will be a paradigm shift.

Will commission set dividing line between hemp and medicine? Stanford: Whatever strains that are best for food, fuel, and fiber, and medicine those will be cultivated.

1:32 – Having seen how the California courts twist the law to screw you over, this section is very worrisome:

This chapter shall be liberally construed so as to minimize the misuse and abuse of cannabis; to prevent the illicit sale or provision of cannabis to minors; and to protect the peace, safety, and happiness of Oregonians while preserving the largest measure of liberty consistent with the above purposes

The government could have a field day with “liberally construed to minimize the misuse and abuse of cannabis”. If you give them an inch they will take a mile.

The only thing that’s licensed is the sale of buds to adults. Medicine is not taxed.

Commission will grant licenses, “apportion the purchase” from licenses (that is buy it back from them and be the only legal market), and then resell it to individuals.

Stanford: To avoid having to sell to the commission, you can get a license to have a store, a cannabis outlet, coffee shop, whatever you want to call it: to grow, process, and sell your own cannabis – like a winery.

1:38 – Commission shall sell cannabis at cost PLUS Expenses to patients. The caveat is that the commission is also obligated to defend the law against the feds, or anyone else, and factor the expense of this defense into their cost. This is essentially giving lawyers a blank check and could result in costs that patients cannot afford. Additionally, the costs of policing “illegal” sales within the state, and outside the state, will also be factored into the costs charged patients. This cost could be astronomical, driving patients to the black market at the benefit of a few licensed growers.

474.075 Disposition of license fees and profits from sale of cannabis by state.

(1) The commission shall collect license fees which shall be calculated and continually appropriated to defray the commission’s administrative costs of issuing licenses under this chapter and the Attorney General’s costs of litigation in defense of the validity of this chapter’s provisions and in defense of persons subjected to criminal or civil liability for actions licensed or required under this chapter.

Commission will have its own stores, the profits from which will be to fund its operations. Currently is no law in Oregon criminalizing sales to minor. Sales is sales, with no distinction regarding age.

The fed is so big and Oregon is so small, the fed could squish Oregon like an ant if they felt like it.

Sets a sales margin at 15%, the same as set in Oregon for contractors for the sale of alcohol. 90% of anything in the commission fund after expenses goes to the general fund. For more government, more police, and more nuclear power?

Stanford: My cost to produce medical grade marijuana is about $13 per ounce. This includes guards and security and so forth.

Portal to all of Stanford’s websites at

Facebook Comments