‘This isn’t about marijuana’

By Erin Tierney

The Creswell Chronicle

Marijuana rhetoric intensifies in Creswell as November creeps closer, and such intensity was clearly demonstrated on Oregon Avenue on Monday when about 80 protesters greeted rush hour traffic with picket signs and banners, urging the community to “vote no” on Measure 20-280 to lift the prohibition on marijuana retailers in Creswell.

The two committees involved in this movement, Keep It Creswell and No to One Gro, have been spearheaded by Campaign Manager Kevin Prociw, Public Relations Director Mike Weber, and Committee Directors Pat Gering and Alonzo Costilla. They are campaigning against One Gro, the company which, in May, filed a petition to lift the marijuana ban in Creswell. The main players in One Gro are high-profile Eugene attorney Mike Arnold, PJ Martinez and Dan Isaacson, CEO.

The NakD Bean coffee shop, as part of One Gro, opened at 285 E. Oregon Ave. in July. The coffee shop currently offers CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive marijuana compound, and will extend the space, should Measure 20-280 pass, to also include a dispensary.

There’s a spectrum of about 125 members who make up these two opposition groups, Prociw said. There are members who oppose marijuana sales and dispensaries in general, but there are also members who use marijuana both recreationally and medically, but do not see One Gro in a favorable light, Prociw said.

These committees are funded by the people of Creswell. Between the two groups, the Oregon Office of the Secretary of State reports that Keep It Creswell and No to One Gro collectively raised $4,616.88 and have spent $966.88. One Gro’s own political action committee, Jobs and Freedom has raised $33,764.44 and spent $28,747.80, according to state records.

What initially sparked interest in forming an opposition group began with a sandwich board with a green cross outside Nakd Bean, Prociw said. Prociw, Gering and Costilla all ride the bus together each morning to Eugene.

“When we first saw there was a coffee shop open, we were like, ‘oh, alright, cool, a coffee shop,’ but then we saw the marijuana cross symbol on Oregon Avenue. We felt like it was a blatant switch. Are they a coffee shop or are they a dispensary?”

Through the power of social media, they were able to collect likeminded community members and form committees.

They say that it’s not so much about marijuana as it is about One Gro itself.

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