Tag Archives: Oregon

Recreational Marijuana to Become Legal in Oregon on Wednesday

On July 1, recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon as the personal cultivation and possession provisions of Measure 91, a state-wide voter-approved referendum that prevailed in November of 2014, take effect. The Oregonian notes that, starting on Wednesday, adults 21 and up will be allowed to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce while traveling. Home growers will be allowed to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence.

According to The Oregonian’s Noelle Crombie, “Anyone 21 and older can possess up to 1 pound of solid edibles, or about 10 chocolate bars; 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid, or a six-pack of 12-ounce sodas; and 1 ounce of marijuana extract.

Smoking pot in public remains illegal in Oregon and is punished with a fine of up to $1000. Under the law, plants grown in a resident’s yard must not be visible to the naked eye from the street.

However, Measure 91 tasked the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Legislature with crafting rules for a legal recreational marijuana marketplace, which has not yet taken place, meaning the sale of recreational pot will not yet be legal when the personal cultivation and possession provisions take effect on Wednesday. In the above-embedded video, Noelle Crombie and fellow marijuana policy expert at The Oregonian Jeff Mapes discuss the particulars of legalization and the legislative hurdles facing growers and sellers in the state.

Portland NORML is raising awareness to the lack of a legal market for recreational pot in Oregon by giving away free marijuana as the clock strikes midnight on July 1. KFOR-TV cited a statement by Portland NORML which read, “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. 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.

As it stands, the state will begin taking applications for large-scale cultivation and sales operations in January of 2016. However, the recreational pot industry is unlikely to start in the state until fall of next year.

According to The Associated Press, the Oregon Legislature’s joint marijuana committee approved a proposal last week to allow the state’s over 300 approved medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling to recreational customers in October of 2015 as a temporary solution to buy time while lawmakers craft rules for a legal pot marketplace.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode highlighting the federal government’s mixed messages on marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Gun Activists Start 3 Recalls In Oregon, Prepare For More

Advancement of  legislation that would require criminal background checks for private gun transfers has sparked a recall effort in Oregon by gun rights activists.

According to The Oregonian, papers were filed Wednesday against State Senator Chuck Riley and State Representative Susan McLain, both in their first terms and “part of an expanded Democratic majority enabled, in part, by campaign donations from gun-control advocates.”

Riley received money from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his campaign where he narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent. McLain and Riley sponsored the gun control bill, SB941.

Papers were also filed against state House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, who expected this ridiculous legislation to move quickly through her chamber.

Recall organizers told The Oregonian that they expect more recall papers to be filled.

Riley’s office called the efforts work done by “extreme right-wing groups.” They released the following statement:

“The voters of Senate District 15 know that I have always supported common sense legislation to promote gun safety. I proudly cast a “Yes” vote on SB 941 to close the loophole that allows felons, domestic abusers, and people with severe mental illness to get access to a gun. Common sense gun safety was a key issue in my campaign and I’m delivering on my promises to the voters. Extreme right-wing groups may not like the fact that I won, but I am doing exactly what I said I would do. I respect the right of citizens to exercise their beliefs in the democratic process. I am also confident that the vast majority of people in my district support gun safety, and that my vote for SB 941 is democracy in action.”

These recall efforts are similar to ones that took place in Colorado under similar circumstances.

Oregon Sheriff Says He Will Not Enforce Proposed Background Checks on Private Gun Sales

Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel recently made national news as he is the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the county in which an ongoing dispute rages between local gold miners and the Bureau of Land Management. However, his recent comments about a state-level gun control proposal may present some clues as to where his loyalties lie in the local BLM mining dispute. The Oath Keepers, a group of ex-and-current military and law enforcement professionals who have sworn to disobey orders that violate the US Constitution and who have sided with local gold miners in the dispute, also staged a protest earlier this week at the Josephine County Jail against Oregon Senate Bill 941, which would expand background checks on gun sales to include private transfers between individuals. OregonLive notes that the bill passed the Oregon Senate this week. Next up, the proposal faces a vote in the House, where it is expected to pass.

According to The Herald and News, Sheriff Daniel responded to the Oath Keepers’ protest by saying that he feels that the proposed law might violate his county’s charter, which protects gun rights, and that, because those who violate it would only be charged with a Class-B misdemeanor, he will not and can not enforce it if it were to pass. Said Daniel in comments to The Daily Courier, “I can’t enforce that law, so therefore it won’t be enforced. It doesn’t fit on my scale of priorities… I have felonies going on daily in Josephine County. That’s my priority.”

After the protest concluded, Sheriff Daniel met with Josephine County Oath Keepers representative Joseph Rice, who was tepidly optimistic about the Sheriff’s response to the protest. The Oath Keepers group is pushing for Sheriff Daniel to ignore the law if it passes, citing constitutional concerns over gun rights.

Sheriff Daniel told The Herald and News that he had expressed to Rice that he felt like he was caught in the middle of a dispute between his county’s citizens and the state and noted that, in this case, state law might supersede his county’s charter. However, he maintained that, even if it does pass and becomes law, he lacks the resources to enforce it.

Oath Keepers representative Joseph Rice stood firm on principle and said that Sheriff Daniel is “trying to sit on the fence” and “trying to have it both ways” in how he is discussing the gun background check proposal, while cautioning that he understands the Sheriff’s concerns and wants “to be fair with him.”

Senate Bill 941’s text notes that it would require that individuals buying firearms from private sellers obtain a criminal background check through a professional gun dealer.

Epileptic child has been seizure free thanks to cannabis oil

A child in Oregon who has suffered from seizures brought on by epilepsy has been seizure free for close to nine-weeks now thanks to cannabis oil.

A week after Forrest Smelser turned eight, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, which would cause him to go into seizures, sometimes lasting upwards of 15 minutes.  According to the Epilepsy Foundation, any seizure lasting longer then five minutes requires immediate medical attention and may result in permanent brain damage.

His mother Tanesha took Forrest to the emergency room many times until finally the doctors prescribed Forrest with an anti-seizure drug called Trileptal.  However, the medication only seemed to make things worse for Forrest.  “He would scream, he would fight, he would punch himself,” said Tanesha according to KATU.  

The FDA  has said these side effects are not common, but they do occur in about one in every 500 people.  

At this point, Tanesha said Forrest became suicidal, which she and her family blame on the medications.  Then, Tanesha and her family began to look into other medical options for Forrest.

Forrest’s family began to read into the uses of medical marijuana and its benefits, and made the conscious choice to begin Forrest on a medical marijuana treatment.

After nine weeks of giving Forrest cannabidiol (CBD), the second most active component of medical marijuana, the family reports Forrest has been seizure free.

The strain of medical marijuana Forrest is taking contains mostly CBDs, according to Medical Daily.  Normally, THC, the component which provides the high behind smoking marijuana, is the main component in medical marijuana, but because this strain is mostly CBD, there is virtually no high.  Instead, the CBDs provide anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects on the patient.

This link provides further studies by Project CBD on the effects of CBD in a medical setting.

However, Forrest is not smoking the medical marijuana, rather he is taking it through pill form like any other medication.

“Now that I’m on this medication, I feel like a normal boy,” Forrest said.

“I feel like it’s saved his life,” said Tanesha.  “I know it sounds scary, and I know it sounds unconventional, but it’s working. It’s working!”

Oregon mother says she threw her six-year-old from bridge

Jillian McCabe, mother of a six-year-old autistic boy, called the police in Oregon Monday night, saying she threw her son, London, from the Yaquina Bay Bridge near the Oregon coast.

After McCabe called the police, telling them about her crime, officers were dispatched to the area in search of McCabe and the body of London.  According to FOX News, the police found McCabe near the bridge and arrested her immediately on charges of aggravated murder, murder, and manslaughter.

The body of London was found floating in the bay near the Embarcadero Resort later Monday night.

“We’re all devastated, said London’s uncle, Andrew McCabe, according to NBC News.  “London was a good kid.  He loved hats.  And his dad… She took him for a walk and did what she did.”

Family members told reporters McCabe had recently suffered a mental breakdown after having to care for a non-verbal and autistic London while also having to face the death of her father and a health crisis which has left her husband clinging to life.

Her husband Matt, according to Sky News, was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had a mass on his brain stem.  McCabe had been seeking help on social media websites to support her and her family since Matt was the breadwinner of the family until his diagnosis.

Family members also said McCabe told them she had thought about harming herself from all the stress, but they never thought she would harm London.

Tanya McCabe, London’s great-aunt, said, “Jillian really struggled with her mental health and I know she was just out of her mind when this happened.”  She went on to describe how the family had sought to get psychiatric help for McCabe, but they were sadly inefficient.

McCabe is currently being held on $750,000 bail.

Midterm Elections Determine Marijuana Legalization in Several States

Among the issues decided by the ballots cast in Tuesday’s midterm elections, voters are determining the fate of marijuana legalization for recreational use in Alaska, Oregon, Washington D.C., and parts of Maine, and for medical use in Florida.

Yahoo News reported that ballot measures in Oregon and Alaska “would set up a network of regulated pot shops, similar to those already operating in Colorado and Washington State after twin landmark votes in 2012,” and that a measure in the District of Columbia “would allow possession but not retail sales.”

According to NBC News, “Most Americans support plans to legalize marijuana in theory,” and Tuesday’s election will show “a decision about the specific initiatives in Oregon and Alaska as a referendum on the success of those unfolding experiments in Colorado and Washington.

The Communication Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert, said that his group, which is working to increase marijuana legalization among states in 2016, has high hopes for the midterm elections.

Win or lose, we expect to see more support and more dialogue about the issue than ever,” Tvert said.

According to Yahoo News, polls in Oregon “have shown a narrow majority favoring legal pot,” and polls in Alaska, “a Republican-leaning state with a libertarian streak,” have been inconsistent.

The Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, said that he is not worried about the outcome of the 2014 midterm elections, regarding marijuana legalization in Oregon.

If we lose in Oregon, it will shift the national frame a little bit. But it doesn’t change the strategy and it doesn’t change the tactics,” said Nadelmann. “A generation from now people will still step back and look at the prohibition of marijuana and say, what the heck was that about?”

Despite the narrow polls, Deborah Williams, the deputy treasurer of Alaska’s campaign for legalization, is confident.

We’re going to win,” said Williams. “It’s been a true grass roots campaign, pun intended, a true bipartisan, door to door effort, and our own polls show us 10 points ahead.

Yahoo News reported that the measure D.C., which would “allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants,” has been favored by a two-to-one margin.

Maine is following Washington D.C. in adding semi-legalization to the ballot. According to the Sun Herald, voters in the cities of South Portland and Lewiston “will vote on ballot initiatives that would legalize possession of marijuana.”

Tuesday’s elections will also determine whether Florida becomes the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

TIME reported that the campaign for legalization of medical marijuana “has drawn millions from big spenders on the left and right,” and has been “an issue splitting the gubernatorial candidates in a very close race.”

According to NBC News, although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, advocates argue that legalization is a “common sense policy,” due to the fact that it would “raise tax revenue, allow law enforcement to chase more serious crime, and undercut Mexico’s violent drug cartels.

Live coverage of the Elections will be provided on the homepage of Benswann.com, beginning at 4:00 pm edt.

Terminally Ill Cancer Patient Takes Her Own Life Under Death With Dignity Act

Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old who was terminally ill with brain cancer, died on Saturday through an assisted suicide, under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

According to The Oregonian, Maynard was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma, “a highly malignant and aggressive form of brain tumor,” and in April, she was told that she had only “six months to live.”

In June, Maynard moved from California to Portland, Oregon, where she qualified for Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication for the purpose of voluntary self-administration to terminally ill patients.

Before ending her own life on Saturday, Brittany Maynard posted a final farewell on Facebook:

Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more.

In October, Maynard partnered with the end-of-life choice advocacy organization, Compassion & Choices, to shed light on the concept of “dying with dignity,” which is legal in five states.

Sean Crowley, a spokesman for Compassion & Choices, said that Maynard is “educating a whole new generation on this issue.”

“She is the most natural spokesperson I have ever heard in my life,” said Crowley. “The clarity of her message is amazing. She is getting people to consider this issue who haven’t thought of it before.”

In an interview with PEOPLE, Maynard confirmed that she had discussed all available options with doctors.

My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control,” said Maynard. “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

In response to criticism of her choice to end her own life, Maynard said, “For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me. They try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.

NBC News reported that in addition to the inevitable “seizures and excruciating headaches,” Maynard would face during her final days, she planned many “bucket list” moments before escaping “the final stages of her cancer on Saturday, a day she had long cited, by drinking a lethal mixture of water, sedatives and respiratory-depressing drugs.”

However, while the exact cause of Maynard’s death has not been disclosed, a Facebook post from Compassion & Choices stated, “She passed peacefully in her bed surrounded by close family and loved ones.

According to the obituary posted on Brittany Maynard’s website:

Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illnessShe moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland. Oregon is a place that strives to protect patient rights and autonomy; she wished that her home State of California had also been able to provide terminally ill patients with the same choice.”


Police Planning 4th of July ‘No Refusal’ Blood-Draw DUI Checkpoints

On July 4th, 1776, America’s founding generation took its first historic step towards an experiment in freedom that unleashed one of the most innovative and productive nations in world history. On July 2nd of that year, the Second Continental Congress had voted to separate itself from the oppressive tyranny of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was drafted (though historians dispute whether it might have been signed a month later).

Since that time, citizens across the US have celebrated American-style freedom on the Fourth of July, grilling out and firing fireworks in honor of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. However, some alarming new Independence Day traditions have emerged in the contemporary United States. State and local police across the country are preparing “no refusal” DUI and DWI checkpoints at which citizens will be investigated for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not on the basis of their driving, but simply due to their geographic location. Those who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test will be forced to endure a blood test instead.

Texas police have announced that they will be running “no refusal” programs with mandatory blood testing for those who refuse breathalyzers, as will law enforcers in Oregon and Tennessee. Judicial officials will be on hand all throughout the holiday weekend to approve warrants, in some cases over the phone, that allow officers to take blood from citizens by force, which will then be examined for intoxicants. Due to the questionable constitutionality of its program, Tennessee state law requires that the locations of the checkpoints be made available to the public in advance. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has publicized its checkpoint locations, which can be found at this link.

Civil liberties advocates have long argued that checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, as being in a geographic location does not constitute probable cause to launch a criminal investigation against an individual. Also, checkpoints take officers off the street, where it would be easier to watch for reckless drivers, and instead concentrate them in specific locations where drivers wait in a line, making it impossible for police to determine whether or not the individuals being investigated are driving dangerously. Without being able to watch for signs of reckless driving, officers will rely on less reliable indicators such as communication skills or redness of eyes to make judgments on drivers’ level of impairment, possibly putting individuals with colds, allergies, or long shifts at work in a position to be falsely suspected of DUI. Those who do not want to submit to a breathalyzer test could then be subjected to a blood test by force on the very day set aside by Americans to celebrate freedom from tyranny.

Tehama County Votes to Secede from California

In California politics, there has been a long-standing feud between rural voters and those from densely-populated cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. California is an unusually large state in terms of geography, and the policies of its equally massive government sometimes please one county at the expense of another. Rural voters often complain that their voices aren’t heard in the California State Legislature in Sacramento.

Eleven sparsely-populated rural counties of Northern California cover a land mass equal to many US states, but are represented by only one state senator, unlike the Los Angeles area, which is represented by 20. This has led many Northern California counties to consider secession, with a plan in place to create a new state called “Jefferson.” Some counties in the southern region of Oregon are also considering taking formal steps to join this movement to create a new US state.

According to The Washington Post, a majority of voters in Tehama County, California approved a non-binding resolution on Tuesday that would encourage local officials to look into seceding from California and joining in the process of creating the State of Jefferson. Voters in Del Norte County also considered the same measure on the same day, but rejected it. Additionally, Siskiyou County voters considered a proposal to create the Jefferson Republic, which failed.

In the past, county officials in the California counties of Glenn, Modoc, Yuba, and Siskiyou have approved measures to consider seceding from California. The movement to create a new state encompassing parts of Northern California and a few southern counties in Oregon has been building since prior to World War II. Though the failed votes in the counties of Siskiyou and Del Norte represent a hiccup in the plan to form a new state, Tehama County’s vote to look into the idea marks the fifth county to approve such a resolution, giving credence to the view that an increasing number of voters are growing weary of their lack of representation in Sacramento politics.

Additional California counties will vote on similar measures in the near future. According to Russia Today, citizens in 16 counties are considering joining this theoretical State of Jefferson. If the initiative to form a new state were to gain serious traction, it would also have to be approved by the California State Legislature and the US Congress. Given the nature of the under-representation of the counties in question in the California State Legislature, it would be challenging for supporters of the movement to get state officials to approve the plan.

Watch the video below by Russia Today for additional coverage on the California and Oregon secession movements and the plan to create a new 51st US state.

Black activists and politicians force Trader Joe’s grocery out: Claim it would attract too many whites

PORTLAND, Ore., February 7, 2014– According to local media outlet, The Oregonian (Highlighted by the Associated Press), African American activists and politicians forced the Trader Joe’s grocery chain to drop their plans for a new store in a predominately black community because the store would “increase the desirability of the neighborhood,” for “non-oppressed populations.”

“We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple,” said the grocery chain. “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.”

The Portland Development Commission offered a substantial discount to the grocery chain for a two acre parcel of land that appraised for $2.9 million. The land, which sat undeveloped for years, was offered to the chain for $500,000 in an attempt to bring high paying jobs and prosperity to the neighborhood. The construction project, which was to include a two large anchor buildings and 10 retail shops, was promised to an African American owned construction company.

The Portland African American Leadership Forum, along with the Mayor Charlie Hales, sent letters to Portland Development Commission citing that they were “contributing to the destructive impact of gentrification and displacement of the African American community.” They also said that they would remain opposed to all development of the land that doesn’t primarily benefit African Americans.

Hales did concede that he felt the Trader Joe’s could be a good fit, but other leaders weren’t budging.

The grocery chain is based out of California and regularly makes headlines for their revolutionary business model that brings discount health-foods and products to neighborhoods. Also, the chain is continuously praised as one of the highest paying grocers in the world. New employees start out at $10-20/hr., supervisors make $45k-75k/yr. and store managers bring in six-figure salaries. Also, the company makes regular contributions to employee 401k accounts.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook and on Twitter

11-Year-Old Banned From Selling Mistletoe In Oregon Park


Madison Root, an entrepreneurial 11-year-old from Oregon, tried to sell some hand-picked mistletoe in downtown Portland on Saturday. She was raising money to help her dad pay for her braces.

But her “business” didn’t last very long before bureaucratic rules and red tape shut her down.

A security guard, hired by Portland Saturday Market, told her to stop selling mistletoe because she didn’t have the proper permit or approval from the city. Portland city regulations apply to any business that includes “goods, or descriptions or depictions of goods or services, with the intent to engage any member of the public in a transaction for the sale of any good or service.” Vendors who wish to sell at the Portland Saturday Market face even stricter rules.

In a twist of irony, the security guard told the girl that although she could not sell her mistletoe in the park she could beg for money instead.

Mark Ross, a spokesman for the Portland Parks Bureau, explained that begging is allowed because it is considered “a form of free speech, protected by the First Amendment.”

Madison said she would never beg for money. She said, “I would rather work for something than beg. I wouldn’t think I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place.”

The 11-year-old also pointed out that many of the beggars that she saw were openly soliciting money for pot. She said, “There are people next to me that have big signs that say ‘Got Pot?’”

Prior to being approved to sell at the Portland Saturday Market, vendors must jump through several hoops. Viki Ciesiul, a jewelry seller at the market, explained the process. She said, “We [vendors] are trying to avoid too many types of street vendors who might bring the place down. There are many ways she can participate and rules are there for a reason.”

On Tuesday morning, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said that he will review the laws that prevented Root from selling mistletoe. As reported by KATU.com, “The saga of the 11-year-old entrepreneur and her box of mistletoe prompted the mayor to say he’ll review city laws and the Saturday Market to invite the little girl back… A spokesman for Mayor Hales said he plans to contact the staff at Portland’s Saturday Market to better understand what happened and whether procedures could be tweaked to allow kids to sell.”

As this story has gained national attention from media outlets across the country, many individuals and small businesses have contacted Madison and her father to order her mistletoe. Others have made donations to her braces fund.



Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

Oregon Farmers May Go to Prison for Raw Milk Ads

There is no free speech when it comes to advertising raw milk products in Oregon. In fact, those who violate this law may face possible jail time.

Most states in the country have significant restrictions on the sale of raw milk, and at first glance, Oregon’s seem like some of the less extreme ones.  Sales are outright illegal in 20 states, and though Oregon does not allow the retail sale of raw milk, it does allow small organic dairies – with three cows or fewer, only two of which can be lactating at any given time – to sell their product directly to consumers.  The catch, however, is that these dairies are prohibited from advertising their product.

AndersonCow-250x300Christine Anderson filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in the hopes of changing that.  She owns and runs Cast Iron Farm, a two cow dairy and has taken great pains to ensure the process creates the highest quality, safest milk possible, combining modern and traditional methods.  The government’s concern is that raw milk may carry harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, but such hazards are usually a product of human milk processing, not the cow, itself. Anderson’s process minimizes these risks.

Last year, the Oregon Department of Agriculture told Anderson she must remove the milk prices from her website, and as part of this, she has been unable to advertise sales when she has a surplus of milk and is forced to waste much of it, feeding it to her pigs.  She also felt compelled to remove information about her milking, bottling and testing methods from her website, because they could also be construed as advertising.  The irony of this, as her attorney has noted, is that this actually keeps consumers from accessing information which could help them make safer raw milk choices.

There are a growing number of Americans who consider raw milk to be much healthier than that which is pasteurized.

The pasteurization process destroys proteins, enzymes and probiotics which many consider integral to digestive health.  Digestive health has been increasingly linked to overall health, with allergies, infections and even autoimmune disease being connected to digestive issues.

Another issue facing smaller farms is that big corporations like Monsanto and the milk lobby have millions of dollars to advertise their products. They control the public narrative and have the power of the mass media to essentially eliminate smaller competitors.

However, the public is waking up and are concerned about pasteurized milk products that may contain growth hormones. Many countries have already outlawed the artificial hormone rBGH used to inject milk cows in order to maximize production. Starbucks, Chipotle, and Ben and Jerry’s state that their dairy products are rBGH-free. Concerns over chemicals, hormones, and drugs in pasteurized milk has helped raw milk sales. The trend to buy local and natural foods continues to be a popular trend in the U.S.

Those in rural communities are fighting draconian laws and regulations imposed by politicians who are influenced by special interests and lobbyists. Farmers like Anderson are filing lawsuits while others are using jury nullification to stand up for their Constitutional rights.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “a Hennepin County jury found Alvin Schlangen not guilty of three misdemeanor counts of selling unpasteurized milk, operating without a food license and handling adulterated or misbranded food.” Each count carried a maximum sentence of three months’ imprisonment.


More on Jury Nullification

You Can Now Pay For Starbucks With Food Stamps


One woman pulled it off. The story is starting to make waves on the internet again.  Jackie Fowler, a Salem, Oregon food stamp recipient, went inside the luxury Starbucks franchise located inside of a Safeway grocery store with the local Fox News station filming. She purchased one tall Frappaccino and a slice of pumpkin loaf. Her total was $5.25. She slid out her Oregon Trail food stamp card, paid in part by the federal government, and handed it to the cashier who processed the transaction.

Fowler only made the purchase to assist Fox News with the investigation.

“They’re overpriced as it is,” said Fowler of the luxury brand. “That’s money that somebody could be eating with — a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk.” Fowler says the program is in need of reform due to the abuse.

It doesn’t seem like management is trying to discourage the use of food stamps inside of the Starbucks. In fact, they are advertising it, as seen in the sign.

Corporate stores do not accept food stamps. However, because the store is run by the grocery chain it is offered as a “grocery item”. Such Starbucks outlets are located inside of  airports, malls, colleges, Target, Alberstons, Fred Meyer and other chain grocery stores.



Oregon passes the “Monsanto Protection Act”

This week, Oregon passed SB 633, known by many as the Monsanto Protection Act, in a special legislative session.

The act would prevent local governments from enacting or enforcing any measures which regulate agricultural, flower, nursery and vegetable seeds or their products.  Essentially, it would prevent counties and municipalities from banning GMO crops.  The Oregon Farm Bureau claims that this is because it does not want local governments to be able to elevate some farming practices over others.

The effect of the bill, however, is the elevation of GMO farming over regular farming and organic farming.  Cross pollination of GMO crops to organic crops can lead to contamination of both produce and seeds, leading to massive monetary losses for organic companies and family farms, as well as unreliable organic produce for consumers.  Oregon is the country’s fifth highest organic producer, and is home to some of the country’s main organic seed companies.


Local governments should be able to protect their constituents from this economic impact, product contamination and, as many believe, health risk.  The Monsanto Protection Act would infringe on the rights of local governments and their constituents.  GMO crops shouldn’t be banned nationally, or even on the state level, but food activists believe that an organic community seeking to prevent Monsanto or another biotech company from moving in and damaging their crops should have this right.

This is made even more important in light of an appeals court ruling last June.  Monsanto had filed 144 patent infringement lawsuits against organic farmers between 1997 and 2010.  It claimed that the farmers had used its seed without paying the required royalties, while the farmers said that their fields were inadvertently contaminated without their knowledge.  Monsanto should probably have paid damages to those farmers, but instead, it sued them for patent infringement and won.

The farmers appealed their case to the Supreme Court in September.  Also in September, the federal “Farmer Assurance Provision,” also referred to as a “Monsanto Protection Act,” expired and was not renewed.  The provision – attached to the March 28 emergency spending bill – prevented the government from halting the sale and planting of GMO seeds while the USDA was in the process of reviewing their safety.  It also, however, offered Monsanto immunity from federal courts with regards to those very experimental crops.

Oregon’s Monsanto Protection Act is not only the latest example of government protection of biotech corporations at the expense of small-scale farmers and individuals.  It also connects with other legal issues and legislation to take away the ability of organic farmers to oppose the company.

The issue of Monsanto is not an illustration of the problems with free markets, it’s an illustration of the problems which arise when corporations and government are too closely connected.

Ben Swann questioned this close connection last week stating, “Monsanto’s influence over food supply is troubling. Their ability to seemingly prevent GMO labeling is also troubling. Their connections with people like Mike Taylor who have the ability to control what does and does not show up on our families tables, sure smells like crony capitalism.” See article here.



“It’s for the kids.” Perhaps the greatest line in political propaganda ever marketed to the world will now be featured in Obama’s newest commercials. Joshua Cook with BenSwann.com already reported that the health care law would take an additional $2 billion/yr. of taxpayers’ money to promote the law.

The Oregon advertisement company uses a “hipster” vibe in their production. The below video is one of their commercials promoting the health care law. “We fly with our own wings” is a melody the video repeats. Apparently the tax payer’s wings are now owned by everyone.

“Long Live Oregon” is my favorite. Can’t get this damn song out of my head… Well Played, Cover Oregon.

Premiums have skyrocketed under Obamacare in Oregon. (Forbes)
Premiums have skyrocketed under Obamacare in Oregon. (Forbes)


Someone forgot to mention to Amy Fauver, marketing director for Cover Oregon, that premiums have skyrocketed in the state. She left that part out of the commercials. Then again, the commercials don’t really talk about the law at all, or any of the effects so far seen.

Not everyone is upset with the ads. Time Magazine awarded Oregon the “Number One State For Government Funded Obamacare Ads” Apparently that’s something to be proud of.

Cover Oregon is rounding up high school marching bands from around the state to be featured in their next commercial.

The commercial will feature young children playing an Obamacare anthem. Each band will have to audition for the slot.

It is not immediately known if students will be allowed to opt-out of the commercial if they are in the school’s marching band.

The company will also soon release ads in Spanish.