As many TWB readers know, Ninjasmoker and I operate out of the beautiful city of Eugene, Oregon. Ninjasmoker and I have long felt that Eugene, Oregon is one of, if not the most marijuana friendly city in America. Eugene, Oregon is the current home of federal medical marijuana patient Elvy Musikka and Eugene was the city that the legendary Jack Herer lived the last years of his life. Ken Kesey was a Eugene area fixture and his well chronicled bus is still located in the Eugene area. The Mayor of Eugene, Kitty Piercy, is a pioneer in marijuana policy reform. Below are some excerpts from the Register-Guard which explains why I make that claim:
“Local medical marijuana advocates have at least one friend in high places. That would be Mayor Kitty Piercy, who will attend the Global Marijuana March rally Saturday at the old Federal Building at Seventh Avenue and Pearl Street.”
“Pro-pot Web sites are buzzing about Piercy’s upcoming appearance at the event as well as her decision to issue a formal proclamation marking today through May 6 as “Medical Marijuana Awareness Week” in Eugene.”
“Eugene has always been a place for for lack of a better word marijuana enlightenment,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, based in Washington, D.C.
“But for a sitting mayor to come out and be this public about it is really rare,” St. Pierre said. “Not many of her peers are coming to events about reform.”
Local medical marijuana patient Jim Grieg who serves on the Willamette Valley NORML chapter’s board of directors met with Piercy two years ago and persuaded her to declare a “Medical Marijuana Awareness Day” in Eugene in 2007.
Grieg, a 57-year-old Eugene resident who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and uses a wheelchair, returned to the mayor’s office this year to request that she issue a proclamation in support of medical marijuana programs.
“It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing,” Grieg said. “I think she’s really shown some leadership qualities by doing this.”
Piercy, who said she has a friend who used medical marijuana to gain relief from symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, realizes that some people might criticize her decision to publicly address the issue.”
How many other metro areas in America can say their mayor is as awesome as the City of Eugene? While medical marijuana communities across the nation are getting harassed, Eugene dedicates an entire week to medical marijuana awareness. One of my favorite quotes about Eugene is from Ninjasmoker. We were at Skinner’s Butte Park in Eugene smoking pot in my car and I asked him if we should be more discreet since a cop or narc might roll through.
Ninjasmoker said, “I’ll put it to you this way, I have smoked here at least once or twice a day for like two months now, and I’ve never seen a cop, not once. I have seen dozens of people smoking pot over by those trees, and I saw two hippies having sex by that bike path over there, but I have never, ever seen a cop.” I think that statement can be applied to much of the Eugene area.
What about TWB readers? What do you think makes a town or city marijuana friendly? Do you personally live in a marijuana friendly area? I hear that Ann Arbor is amazing, and that Missoula shares a lot of the attitudes and demographics of Eugene. At the international level there are a lot of marijuana friendly areas in British Columbia, Canada, and obviously places like Amsterdam. Please leave comments below so that travelers and re-locators can benefit from your knowledge.