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Bill would prevent firing workers for off-the-job pot use

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A bill filed in the Oregon Legislature would prevent workers from being fired for off-the-clock marijuana use, both recreational and medical.

Senate Bill 301 seeks to prohibit “conditioning employment on refraining from any substance that is lawful to use in [Oregon].”

It would also prevent employers from not hiring someone for marijuana use.

At the Terpene Station cannabis shop in Portland, workers say when they first opened, a lot of customers were concerned that their marijuana purchases would get back to their employers. That fear has decreased a little but some still worry.

SB 301 amends ORS 569A.315, which originally protected workers that used lawful tobacco products while on their own time. The bill would update that law to read as follows:

It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer to require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from using a substance that is lawful to use under the laws of this state during nonworking hours.
The bill does provide exceptions if the substance restriction relates to a bona fide occupational qualification or the performance of work while impaired. The protections also don’t apply if an applicable collective bargaining agreement prohibits off-duty use of the legal substance in question.

KOIN 6 News reached out to Sen. Ann Lininger, the sponsor of the bill, to clarify what specific jobs may be exceptions to this bill. She was not available for comment on Friday, but Senator Ted Ferrioli told KOIN he assumes law enforcement and others in public safety jobs would have specific exemptions and he expects many other “drug free workplaces” would want exemptions.

Jesse Wakeley, who is a regular customer at Terpene Station, said he works for a pot-friendly employer but knows not everyone does.

“I feel like what people do on their own and in their own time is their business,” Wakeley told KOIN 6 News.

The budtenders at Terpene said customers have shared their fear of losing their jobs over marijuana use, even after it became legal.

“A lot of people were very concerned about the information of them being in one of these shops getting back to their employers,” budtender Jesse Soto said. “If it isn’t affecting their overall job performance, I don’t see why that should be an offense that is worth being fired over.”

Both Soto and Wakeley believe Senate Bill 301 is a good first step.

Charlie Burr, who is communications director for the Bureau of Labor and Industry, said even though Oregonians legalized weed, “that did not affect employment law.”

“Employers can hire and fire based on marijuana usage, even if that usage is on the weekend and not at work,” Burr said.

A similar situation took place in Lane County when a man was fired for off-duty medical marijuana use. An arbitrator ruled that the county erred in firing him for medical marijuana use that the man says was based on the recommendation of a doctor for side effects from cancer treatment.

He was given his job back and nearly $22,000 in back pay.

Since pot can stay in your system for 30 days, marijuana supporters said protections are needed until accurate, on-the-job testing can be developed.

“Now that it’s legal in Oregon, it makes sense not to get fired for it,” Terpene Station employee Brenna Strassburg said.

KOIN 6 News Reporter Jennifer Dowling contributed to this report.

Read the entire bill below. Continue Reading

 Contaminated Cannabis – The Unavoidable Consequence of Prohibition

Eleven years ago, I was confronted with the phenomenon of contaminated cannabis for the first time.

White Widow contaminated sandOne of my colleagues had bought two grams from his private source and wanted to medicate in our editorial office. The medicine smelled and looked good, but visibly, despite the correct weight of 2.0 grams, it looked as if it was at least a half-gram short. When rubbing between the fingers, the bud felt rough, and when licking the fingers after, something crunched between my teeth. Also, the hard-as-stone crystals sunk to the bottom of the zipper-bag. Eventually I assumed the colleague had bought at least half a gram of fine sand. We decided to burn the sanded weed with a Jet-Stream lighter to see if there was any inorganic material left over. After burning the two grams, we had a dark green glass globe weighing about 0.5 grams. The sand used for diluting the bud had been fused into glass.

Startled by this incident, I looked online to see whether or not any other smokers have had similar experiences. At first, I only found reports in British forums where users blamed a substance called “Brix+” for the improper buds. This liquid substance should be blended with the flowers after drying as a “wet cure application,” so the producer stated on the bottle, that they weigh up to 22 percent more. After some brief research in German grow shops, it was clear that Brix had only been offered for a few weeks, it was advertised as a new yield enhancer from Australia. The soaked flowers actually weigh almost a quarter gram more, have lost almost all of their aroma, but appear extremely crystalline after the treatment.

Everything Began With Brix

Brix is a unit of measurement normally used in wine growing that provides information on the sugar content, similar to Oechsle-Grading. Some fertilizer manufacturers from overseas, particularly in the UK, have taken over this  fact, and they praise products that make bud particularly “heavy and sweet,” often in connection with the name Brix.

Once again, some criminals from the cannabis scene took advantage of this by placing the “Brix+” on the market and massively advertising it as a brand new yield enhancer. Our team searched and found somebody to test a sample in a mass spectrometer that had been sent to our editorial office anonymously. The liquid product contained a colorless plastic polymer.

Not too long after the first reports of “Brix+” contaminated cannabis appeared, the product was taken off the shelves of almost all grow shops across Europe. But anyone who thought the problem was solved at that time was not aware of the mechanisms of an uncontrolled black market. After Brix+ was taken from the shelves there was less and less uncontaminated cannabis on the black market, particularly in the imported buds from the Netherlands which became infamous for being dirty. No matter whether talcum, salts, sugar, oregano, fibre hemp, broken glass, or hairspray, dealers were padding their wallets with contaminants.

Cannabis contaminated with lead sulfide

Cannabis contaminated with lead sulfide

The public did not take notice of the phenomenon until 2008, when two people nearly died from contaminated cannabis. At that time, an unscrupulous dealer had the idea of using lead sulfide as a cutting agent. It shines beautifully, weighs a lot and very quickly causes lead-poisoning when smoked. After almost two hundred reported lead poisonings in and around Leipzig, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) decided to test more seized samples.

Lead was no longer found, but a wide range of previously mentioned substances which definitely have nothing to do with cannabis were detected. However, testing cannabis from the black market is generally unlawful, and therefore, consumers have little chance of detecting cutting agents on their buds. If contaminated heroin or cocaine is seized there are public warnings to protect consumers. In the case of contaminated cannabis, potential consumers are not informed; politicians withdraw on the the position that any consumption of cannabis is harmful and should be avoided. The only information available are on Cutting Agent Register pages like the Streckmittelmelder.

The register is still being filled with new content every day. Here, the often helpless consumers can learn how to use a few simple tricks to detect contaminations. An incomplete burning, sparks or a float-test of a bud in a glass water can give hints on cutting agent contamination. But it cannot prevent health hazards caused by black market cannabis or create any consumer protections like in Oregon, Washington, or Colorado. In the south of Germany, where the penalties and profits for cannabis are the highest in the country, most incidents and probable contaminations are reported.

Photos courtesy of DHV (German Hemp Association)

Source & Full Article:

Best Weed Documentary – The Union: The Business Behind Getting High

BC’s illegal marijuana trade industry has evolved into a business giant, dubbed by some involved as ‘The Union’, Commanding upwards of $7 billion Canadian annually. With up to 85% of ‘BC Bud’ being exported to the United States, the trade has become an international issue. Follow filmmaker Adam Scorgie as he demystifies the underground market and brings to light how an industry can function while remaining illegal. Through growers, police officers, criminologists, economists, doctors, politicians and pop culture icons, Scorgie examines the cause and effect nature of the business – an industry that may be profiting more by being illegal.

Written by Brett Harvey