Oregon DHS Refuses Food Donation From Pro-Marijuana Group – Starpulse.com
An Oregon government agency refused food donations from a pro-marijuana group. The Women Leaders in Cannabis in the city of Eugene made a food donation to the Thanksgiving food drive for homeless people, but it was declined, KOMO News reports.
The group says Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS) accepted its offer at first, but changed its mind due to the group’s involvement in the pot business.
Lindsey Jacobsen, the executive director of Women Leaders in Cannabis, told KATU News that the group is “a nonprofit trade organization based on philanthropy.”
Jacobsen said the group – consisting of about 30 pot industry business leaders – wanted to collect food and donate it to the needy.
“The first place I reached out to was the Department of Human Services because when I was in high school I was in Future Business Leaders of America and we did the same type of program and that’s who we worked with,” Jacbosen said.
Jacobsen said the DHS office in Eugene had to discuss it with administrators before initially accepting the donation. A few days later, the government office told the pro-marijuana group that wouldn’t be able to work with them “due to too much time being spent on it,” Jacbosen said.
A reporter asked DHS about its decision to refuse the food donation. Jacobsen said she expected to hear it had something to do with their affiliation with supporting the pot business.
“It’s disheartening,” she said. “We have lives just like everybody else, families, jobs. We’re just happy to be able to give back now that we have the opportunity to.”
DHS spokesman Gene Evans said said it’s not agency or state policy that resulted in its refusal of the food donation, but the decision of one office.
Evans wrote an email to KATU as part of his official statement on the food donation controversy.
“Their decision not to accept the donations was based on discomfort with the connection of a marijuana organization to DHS human services. …,” Evans wrote. “The Eugene office felt that baskets sponsored by this organization could create the impression that we endorsed cannabis.”
“I don’t see how being involved in a positive way could do any harm.” Jacobsen said. “We’ll keep finding people that want to work with us and I think in the future people will be reaching out to us, hopefully.”
DHS offered to refer the donation to other groups, but Jacobsen said that Autism Rocks was willing to receive 20 baskets of the donated food that included turkeys, stuffing, and all the trimmings.