Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Press Release: Marijuana Sales Begin in Oregon Thursday

For Immediate Release:                                              Contact:
Wednesday, September 30, 2015                               415.823.5496                             


Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Given Head Start Before Other Stores

Oregon Becomes First State to Expunge Prior Nonviolent Marijuana Records

Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2014 with Measure 91, is beginning sales tomorrow, Thursday October 1st. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries were permitted to get a head start on sales before other, non-medical stores, which are expected to open in Fall 2016. This will ensure existing medical marijuana retailers have an opportunity to fairly compete in the new market as it emerges in the next several years. About 200 of the 345 medical shops have registered to expand their sales to all adults and expect a significant increase in profit margins.

“Tomorrow Oregon becomes the third state to be able to control, regulate and tax marijuana by making sales of the drug legal,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. “If we were to apply this same logic to heroin and other drugs so that people with addictions knew what they were getting, we’d not only see the public safety improvements we’ve seen in Colorado and Washington, we’d see thousands of lives saved every year.”

On June 30th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 3400, which not only created specific regulations for tracking plants from seed to sale to ensure consumer safety and vendor accountability, but it will also expunge thousands of prior marijuana records for nonviolent offenders.

“Millions of Americans face lessened life opportunities because of arrest and conviction records,” said Major Franklin. “Oregonians should be proud of the strides they have made to restore justice to those who should never have been arrested or incarcerated for marijuana in the first place.”

As of July 1st of this year, adult possession and home cultivation were permitted. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants and keep eight ounces at home, and to possess one ounce. Public consumption and sales will continue to remain illegal. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4th, 2016, and recreational retailers are expected to be operational later the same year.

Four states have thus far legalized and regulated adult use. Oregon’s regulatory model has been developed with Washington and Colorado’s successes and failures in mind. Alaska has not yet begun legal sales. Among the marijuana regulation priorities for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission are preventing accidental ingestion by children with the use of appropriate childproof packaging, and ensuring that extracts, concentrates, and edibles are carefully regulated, tested, and labeled.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have created dangerous underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction.


Friday, September 11, 2015


Contact: Mikayla Hellwich                                                                                                                  For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                   September 11, 2015


State, Local Law Enforcement Profit from Violating Civil Liberties

Sacramento, CA -- Last night, the California assembly voted down 24-41 civil asset forfeiture reform bill SB 443 despite overwhelming voter support and largely due to law enforcement groups’ deceptive lobbying about losing federal funding

Civil asset forfeiture, which enables law enforcement to seize assets and property from individuals suspected of illegal activity without having to charge them with a crime, was originally intended to cripple wealthy drug dealers and use their funds for future enforcement operations. But over the past three decades, as government funding for police has fallen, departments have used civil forfeiture to maintain their budgets. SB 443 would have required law enforcement to “seek or obtain” a conviction to make a lawful seizure. A Tulchin Research survey conducted on California residents shows an average 76% of people across racial and political lines oppose the existing civil forfeiture laws. Failure to pass SB 443 shows a significant disconnect between voters and their legislators and the power that law enforcement agencies wield in evading accountability.

“In April, The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) testified that law enforcement agencies cannot afford to give up civil asset forfeiture because the federal government has reduced funding for state and local law enforcement.” said Redondo Beach Lt. Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.), a local speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the War on Drugs. “How can we possibly justify incentivizing police to be invested in criminal activity?”

“Civil forfeiture has dulled the luster of constitutional policing and leveraged local law enforcement away from its core mission of public safety,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing (Ret.), another local LEAP representative. “This bill would have put us back on a road of true public service and helped to rebuild community trust in these tenuous times. It is sad that 41 of our politicians could not see that opportunity.”

 Civil forfeiture often preys on average citizens and is widely abused by participating departments, particularly in California. In 2012, the Anaheim Police Department attempted to seize a $1.5 million office building from the owner after one of the owner’s tenants was accused of selling $37 worth of marijuana at a medical marijuana dispensary operating legally under state law. A report by the Drug Policy Alliance, “Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture in California,” found “numerous breaches of federal forfeiture rules, including budgeting future forfeiture revenue, failure to submit forfeiture expenses to third party auditors, unaccounted-for expenditures in documents submitted to the Justice Department, and failure to retain records related to asset seizures.” Overall, the report points to a vast lack of oversight for an already unethical program.  

Law enforcement agencies are legally permitted to make civil forfeitures without convictions in every U.S. state except New Mexico, where it has been abolished entirely, but federal enforcement agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, still make civil forfeitures across the country. 

The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act has been introduced to both houses at the congressional level and would reform civil asset forfeiture nationwide as well as abolish the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund, which allows the Attorney General to “pay any necessary expenses associated with forfeiture operations,” but has incentivized selective enforcement of laws based on monetary gain. Among the cosponsors of the FAIR Act are California State Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-San Fernando Valley), Sam Farr (D-Carmel), Tom McClintock (R-Roseville), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is an organization of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals dedicated to ending the drug war.


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