By the narrowest and most unreliable of margins, Oregonians today back legalizing recreational marijuana, 44% to 40%, according to the latest SurveyUSA poll conducted for KATU-TV in Portland. The ballot initiative, known as Measure 91, has a majority of support only among the youngest voters, age 18 to 34, who often are the least likely to turn out in a mid-term election. Among seniors, Measure 91 is opposed by 28 points. The more seniors who vote, the less likely 91 will pass. Voters age 50 to 64 support legalization by 13 points, but 19 percent in that age group are undecided. Voters age 35 to 49 support by 11 points. The younger the electorate, the more likely 91 will pass. Legalization is backed by 66% of liberals, 55% of Democrats, 54% of independents, 44% of moderates. By contrast, legalization is opposed by 72% of conservatives and 67% of Republicans.
A U.S. marijuana advocacy group took steps Wednesday to begin raising money for a campaign to legalize recreational pot use in California in 2016, a move with potential to add a dose of extra excitement to the presidential election year. The Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork with the California secretary of state’s office registering a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot, the group said. The measure would be similar to those passed in 2012 by voters in Colorado and Washington, the first U.S. states to legalize commercial sales of marijuana to all adults over 21. The Washington, D.C.-based group also has established campaign committees to back legalization measures in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada in 2016.
How much pot is smoked in Spokane? There may be a way to tell by studying human waste in the city’s sewage system to determine THC levels, according to the ACLU, which proposed the idea to Spokane’s marijuana subcommittee. The group wants to know how much pot is being smoked and thinks some won’t tell the truth on a survey. The idea of testing sewer water not too farfetched. At this point, it’s not quite clear if this will happen in Spokane. City officials say the waste water treatment plant manager is looking into whether or not labs can test for THC and if they can would it be feasible to do so. This isn’t the first time mass drug-testing has been used. Similar monitoring has been performed in several European cities. One of the major benefits is that, unlike surveys, it’s cheap: 100 milliliters of sewer water are all that’s needed for a lab analysis.
Two more state-licensed marijuana stores are scheduled to open soon in Seattle, but their launches could be muted by supply issues that continue to dog the local retail marijuana industry. The owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop , Ian Eisenberg, said his company will start serving customers next week at 23rd and Union. Meanwhile, Oltion Hyseni, the owner of Ocean Greens said his company is preparing for a grand opening on Oct. 18. Both proprietors said short supply of pot is now their biggest obstacle. Eisenberg said he will have a “couple pounds” in his store, but was reticent to publicize an opening date for fear of long lines. Hyseni, a real estate agent who emigrated from Albania 14 years ago, said he’s working to secure product. ”I was raised under (an oppressive) regime,” he said. “I’m very happy to be part of Seattle history.”
Some of the imported hemp seeds detained by U.S. customs officials in the spring turned into 10-foot-tall plants that were harvested Tuesday on a research plot in Kentucky, where marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin has gained a foothold as a potential cash crop. Hemp’s reintroduction was delayed in the spring when hemp seeds imported from Italy were detained by U.S. customs officials in Louisville. The state’s Agriculture Department sued the federal government, and the seeds were released after federal drug officials approved a permit. Part of the once-detained shipment ended up being planted May 27 at the UK plot. Hemp’s comeback started with the new federal farm bill. It allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research and development in states such as Kentucky that allow hemp growing. UK’s test plot grew fast, with little help from researchers and no fertilizer or irrigation. Researchers sprayed herbicide for weed suppression.