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Oregon Is Celebrating Marijuana Legalization With Free Weed

As of July 1, new Oregon laws go into effect making it legal for adults ages 21 and up to possess and use recreational marijuana. It’s legal to grow marijuana in the state—up to four plants per residence, out of public view—and share it with other of-age adults too.

Applications for large-scale growers and retailers aren’t being accepted until early 2016, and no Oregon stores are expected to have marijuana for sale until the fall of 2016. For the time being, then, while recreational marijuana use is legal, people aren’t allowed to buy or sell it.

The odd situation—weed is legal, but there’s nowhere to buy it—has caused marijuana proponents and entrepreneurs to take the very welcomed step of simply giving samples away. The Oregonian reports that the Portland chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) will celebrate the momentous event by gathering on the west side of the Burnside Bridge at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30. At midnight (therefore July 1), all 21+ adults with ID will be given free marijuana and cannabis seeds, courtesy of medical marijuana providers and activists.

“While it becomes legal to possess and cultivate cannabis, there is no legal place in Oregon to buy marijuana itself or cannabis seeds and starts,” a statement from the group explains. “Portland NORML will educate the public and our partners will give away thousands of seeds and hundreds of pounds of marijuana this year so Washington State and the black market do not benefit from our new marijuana legality.”

Later in the week, on Friday, July 3, an event called Weed the People is being held at the MCF Craft Brewing Systems facility in North Portland. Admission to the event isn’t free—advance tickets cost $40—but once visitors are inside, marijuana is indeed free to use on the premises or bring home for later enjoyment. Each attendee is welcomed to take as much as 7 grams, cultivated by a range of Oregon growers that have been producing the state’s supply of medicinal marijuana.

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“This is more than free weed,” organizers say on the event site. “This is more than vendors, food and vapes. This is history in the making!”

Get A Free Bag Of Marijuana With Your Covid-19 Vaccine

Cannabis activists in Washington, D.C. are planning to offer a free bag of marijuana to those receiving the vaccine for Covid-19, the group DC Marijuana Justice announced this week. The free cannabis giveaway, dubbed Joints for Jabs, is being arranged to coincide with vaccine clinics expected to open in the nation’s capital soon, DCMJ wrote in a press release on Monday.

With Joints for Jabs, the DCMJ activists hope to highlight the need for further cannabis policy reform at the national and local level while bringing awareness to the importance of equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. Once local health officials begin offering vaccines to the general public, dozens of home cannabis cultivators will celebrate the occasion by handing out free bags of marijuana outside vaccination centers. Locations and times of the Joints for Jabs giveaways will be announced after DCMJ has more information about local vaccination sites.

Covid-19 (coronavirus) and vaccine vial.

“We are looking for ways to safely celebrate the end of the pandemic and we know nothing brings people together like cannabis,” said Nikolas Schiller, the group’s co-founder. “DCMJ believes that cannabis should be consumed safely and responsibly, and the pandemic has made this incredibly difficult for many adults to share their homegrown cannabis. When enough adults are inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine, it will be time to celebrate – not just the end of the pandemic, but the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition in the United States.”

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A Teachable Moment For Pot People

Adam Eidinger, another DCMJ co-founder, said that he hopes that the marijuana giveaways increase traffic to the city’s vaccination centers. He would also like to see Joints for Jabs serve as an educational opportunity for those unconvinced of the medical value of marijuana as well as members of the cannabis community, many of whom are skeptical of today’s medicine.

“If you believe in the science that supports medical cannabis, you should believe the science that supports the efficacy of the vaccine,” Eidinger told DCist.

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Local cannabis growers have already pledged three pounds of marijuana for the giveaways, and organizers are hoping to have amassed five pounds of pot by the time the events begin. The group will also be offering cannabis seeds named “Grosso’s Green” in honor of marijuana patient, activist and former D.C. Councilmember David Grosso, who left the city council last year.

“I think it’s totally cool” to have a strain of marijuana named for him, Grosso said.

Inauguration Weed Giveaway Postponed

Plans for a DCMJ marijuana giveaway to be held in honor of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden have been put on hold until more people have been vaccinated and the coronavirus pandemic begins to be brought under control. In 2017, the group handed out thousands of joints during the inauguration of the now outgoing president in a gesture that Eidinger characterized as an “olive branch to Trump supporters.”

Marijuana in plastic bags.

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DCMJ hopes to reschedule the event for July, when a public inaugural celebration is reportedly being planned for the National Mall in place of the traditional January festivities. This year, however, activists will be passing out bags of loose marijuana instead of joints, many of which were fired up immediately last time around, in violation of local laws. Nixing the joints is also an effort to make the giveaway more hygienic.

“Four years ago, we handed out over 10,000 joints — and we licked those joints,” Eidinger said. “Today, we think that’s an issue.”

A History Of Creative And Effective Activism

DCMJ was founded in 2013, leading to the drafting of an ordinance to legalize possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults the following year. The group has continued to advocate for cannabis policy reform through a variety of creative demonstrations, including the deployment of giant inflatable faux joints more than 50 feet long at the Capitol, White House and the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Activists from DC Marijuana Justice (DCJM) hold a giant marijuana joint to demand Congress to pass . [+] cannabis reform legislation on the East Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on October 8, 2019. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The group is now advocating for Senate passage of the MORE Act, a landmark bill that would legalize marijuana at the federal level that was approved by the House of Representatives last month.

“While no legislation is perfect, the MORE Act addresses many demands that DC Marijuana Justice has been making for years,” Eidinger said in Monday’s statement from the group. “We asked Presidents Obama and Trump, and now we are asking President-elect Biden to take executive action on cannabis reform within the first 100 days.”