I think that Portland, Oregon is one of the most underrated places when it comes to marijuana. Marijuana culture is very prevalent in Oregon’s largest city, and has been for a long time. There’s a reason that the late great Jack Herer started a headshop in Portland, which is still around to this day. The marijuana industry in Portland is growing at a rapid pace, and with recreational marijuana coming online fairly soon, the industry will obviously expand even more in the Rose City. So it’s very fitting that there is now a NORML chapter in Portland, which will be led by valued contributor to this blog, Russ Belville. Per Oregon Live:
The Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has formed a Portland chapter — Portland NORML. The group, headed by Portland-based radio host and cannabis activists Russ Belville, will push for rules and regulations that ensure marijuana consumers are “provided the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as adult alcohol and tobacco consumers, whenever practical.”
“Like booze, marijuana alters perceptions and mood; like cigarettes, marijuana produces smoke that can intrude on non-smokers’ right to fresh air,” said Belville in a statement announcing the group’s formation. “But marijuana brings with it far less damage and danger to the individual consumer and the non-consuming public, so there is no logical reason why adult marijuana consumers should be treated with any less respect, restricted more severely, and denied the same privileges we extend to responsible adult drinkers and smokers.”
There are numerous attack bills currently introduced in Oregon’s Legislature, with more likely on the way. A lot of those bills would have a dramatic effect on Portland, which has the largest marijuana industry base in Oregon. That’s why it’s so important that there is a NORML Chapter fighting specifically for Portland (although it’s worth noting that there are other chapters in the state working hard too!). I think it goes without saying that I will do everything I can to support the chapter via this blog, including asking people to donate to their causes.