What if?

The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine tackled marijuana legalization with what they called “a reported fantasy, a look at the State of Pot in America in 2020, based on research conducted in 2010.”

Written as a look back on a decade of change on the eve of an imagined Ohio vote to legalize pot, the piece rather cleverly recounts what sociologists, criminologists, economists, and cannabis entrepreneurs think could happen if Proposition 19 passes in California on Tuesday.

The package also includes a look at sophisticated boutique growers in California, transcripts of Q&As with the Post’s garden columnist and a videographer, and a reporter on the series. Accompanying videos explore the California campaign and D.C.’s medical marijuana efforts. Photo galleries offer another look at growers and their crops and an imaginary ad campaign for a marijuana boutique in Washington.

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State posts latest medical marijuana card data

The number of Oregonians with medical marijuana cards continues to grow, according to the latest quarterly report from the state.

As of Oct. 1, Oregon had 36,673 cardholders and 4,526 of them lived in Jackson County.

In the previous 12 months, the state received 23,693 new applications and 13,601 renewal applications. Only 1,305 applications were denied in that period. As of Oct. 1, 5,037 applications were still pending.

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Faster is better, Montana marijuana advocates say

Montana’s highways already have a pedal-to-the-metal reputation and now a high-speed marijuana recommendation is getting attention online.

While the Mail Tribune and Jefferson Public Radio project on marijuana iniatives focuses on Oregon and California, the drug is an issue across the nation.

In Montana, where a medical mariijuana law was approved in 2004, a health care reporter at the Billings Gazette wanted to get a first-hand look at how patients and doctors interact, so she signed on to get a card of her own. And in eight minutes, she had one.

Jason Christ, director of  Montana Caregivers Network, one of the state’s most active marijuana advocacy groups and the organizer of her consultation, wondered why it took so long.

Reporter Diane Cochran concluded that the eight-minute online consultation about her back pain didn’t meet the standards of care set out in state law and defined by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners. However, Christ said in-depth evaluations are unneccessary and access should be faster and easier.

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In California, possession becomes an infraction

Possession of marijuana isn’t legal in California yet, but it might as well be as far as penalties go.

California voters are due to decide Nov. 2 whether to legalize possession of less than an ounce of the drug, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Thursday night that decriminalizes possession anyway.

Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana will be an infraction punishable with a fine of $100 rather than a misdemeanor. Offenders will not face arrest and will not have criminal records.

The governor, incidentally, said he doesn’t support decriminalization but that the legislation he signed will save cash-strapped California some money.



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Let’s talk marijuana

Suddenly, marijuana’s everywhere.

That’s everywhere in the news, at the moment. But if fans in Oregon and California have their way this fall, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the drug outside news columns as well.

Come Nov. 2, Oregon voters will decide whether to establish state-run dispensaries for medical marijuana. The same day, Californians will cast ballots that could make the drug legal for recreational use in small amounts.

The Mail Tribune launches a series of stories Sunday exploring the measures and plans a community forum on them with Jefferson Public Radio Oct. 7 at Southern Oregon University.

We’ve also set up this blog, where you’ll find tidbits about marijuana in the news, polling information and, we hope, some spirited back and forth on the topic. Our aim is to help voters in both states make better choices when ballots are due in November.

So go ahead: Ask us questions about the measures and we’ll attempt to ferret out the answers. And if you’ve got information that could help others decide how to vote, let them know by adding it to the comments below each post.

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    Sanne Specht

    Sanne Specht is the Mail Tribune's education reporter, Southern Oregon Journal columnist and Unleased blogger by day. By night she is companion to several mutant goldfish, a duo of rowdy parrots and a most venerable cat. Read all about the adventures of the Rogue Valley's finned, feathered and furried inhabitants in Unleashed. Full Profile
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