PORTLAND, OR -- "They weren't your friends!" a woman from the back of the crowd shouts.
The comment was made in response to a guest speaker's statement that losing his friends was the hardest part about being falsely convicted a felon for growing pot.
"Jeff and Tracy", two self-confessed "regular people" from Bend, OR, gained local attention when they published a full-page ad in Willamette Week touting "We're your Good Neighbors. We Smoke Pot."
Other local media, including radio station KUFO and daily The Oregonian, refused to allow their message to reach the public.
Since then, two follow-up ads have appeared in WWeek and the couple have also printed ads in San Francisco and appeared on radio talk shows nationwide.
Last weekend the duo appeared in Seattle for the annual HempFest where they filmed their first TV commercial.
This all came to a climax last night at the Benson hotel, when the two hosted an event open to the general public to discuss legalizing pot in Oregon.
The crowd of about a few hundred people was as diverse as the city is: young and old, immigrants and residents, business suits and tye-dyed.
The meeting started with Jeff and Tracy discussing their adventure and ended with a discussion on how to help the new Oregon Ballot Initiative to legalize personal pot consumption for persons 21 years of age and older.
This was followed by guest speakers Tim and Anna McClure from The Dalles, OR. Tim was convicted for the felony offense of "manufacture of a controlled substance" because a trespasser -- a homeless man -- was growing weed on the outskirts of his farm.
Their entry was met by a roaring supportive applause from the audience amdist tears and hugs from the couple.
A question and answer session was also made available. The biggest question Jeff and Tracy hear? "Do you recieve police harassment as a result of 'coming out' as a pot smoker?" That's a negative, Charley.
It was also emphasized during the Q&A that one must know his/her rights when dealing with the police. You do not have to open the door, allow your bags to be searched, or even allow your pockets to be searched (other than allowing a brief pat-down to search for weapons only) without a search warrant. "Your rights are not automatic," said one man in the crowd, "you must excercise and claim them for them to be effective. Don't allow the police to move beyond your rights."
The evening concluded with a screening of Jeff and Tracy's new commercial and mingling amongst the attendees.
To sign the petition or get petitions to circulate for signature for the ballot initiative to legalize personal pot consumption in Oregon, email Jeff or Tracy from their website (listed below).
It should also be noted that Jeff and Tracy are not running for any office as some had misinterpreted, and they did not start this ballot initiative but are strong supporters of it.