By Dave DeLuca
Close to 100 Corvallisites showed up on Monday for a Corvallis City Club meeting to discuss Measure 91 in the upcoming election. That’s the one that would legalize possession, manufacture, and sale of marijuana. Four speakers took the dais and spoke for five minutes each. Two local dispensary owners, an OSU sociology professor, and Corvallis’ chief of police all took questions from the crowd on issues surrounding legalized weed. None took a position on the ballot measure itself, other than to say that voters should be fully educated on the controversial topic.
Brock Binder owns High Quality Compassion at 1300 NW 9th Street. He entered the dispensary industry largely because his mother suffered from chronic pain. He is proud of the professionalism of the local shops, as opposed to dispensaries in other parts of the state. Kayla Dunham owns the Agrestic Green Collective at 1665 SE 3rd Street. She contends that a great benefit of legalization would be increased oversight of product. This, she said, would go a long way toward eliminating black market marijuana sales in Corvallis.
Seth Crawford from Oregon State University loosened up the crowd by asking how many of those in attendance had smoked marijuana. He pointed out the ongoing negative stigma of pot use. As a sociologist, he was able to estimate that it will take a generation or more for society’s attitudes vilifying marijuana to change, even if it is legalized.
Police Chief Jon Sassman walked a fine line in his speech. As a public official, he was unable to comment on the upcoming ballot measure. He was able to say that CPD has not taken calls for service from the dispensaries. In other words, they haven’t been robbed or inspired notable criminal behavior. He also discussed the awkward position CPD is in due to the fact that marijuana is currently illegal on a federal level.
This event likely brought up more questions than it answered, but at least it began an important dialogue on an issue that most of us know little about.
The City Club holds similar discussion lunches monthly in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis. Attendance is free. Lunch is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. For more information, go to www.cityclubofcorvallis.org.