Beyond the reach of the FBI, ATF, and other federal drug authorities, the city of Ashland places a low priority on arresting folks for smoking marijuana. The city council has not gone so far as Santa Cruz, California in attempting to regulate and legalize marijuana, but it is clear the local police authorities in Ashland find low priority in busting college students, theater goers, and Lithia park picnikers for smoking pot. The origin of this situation is in a Oregon state law passed by the citizens providing medical doctors the right to prescribe marijuana to those in need of it. A similar but further reaching law has been passed in California. Recently, the US Supreme Court rejected these state laws, presummably because of the failure to adequately test and classify marijuana as a drug that doctors can prescribe. However, the business of busting folks at the local level is beyond the capacity of the federal government. See the article below for a discussion of this issue.
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- Arts and Culture
Ashland has always celebrated Independence Day with great vigor. It was in fact on the 4th that the first Shakespeare Festival Performance began. Today, the 4th of July Parade is a wild affair with nude marchers, fanciful costumes, bicycle and skate board stunts, and enviromental theme floats, as well as the usual small town parade of fire trucks, high school bands, and civic clubs. The 4th of July Parade is very well attended and people set out lawn furniture early in the morning. On the night of the 4th, I saw a fireworks display fit for much larger city. Ashland goes all out on the 4th, as homes are decorated in the red, white, and blue. Ashland is very patriotic and liberal, believing strongly in the civil liberties that make America great, but the artistic bent of the residents here tends to be irreverent to American's moralistic majority.
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