In the Fields
Last November Oregonians voted to legalize, regulate, and tax the adult use of marijuana. I am now co-chairing the legislative committee to shepherd implementation. Our committee’s goal is to carry out the voters’ will in a way that keeps our kids and communities safe, prevents excessive incarcerations, and supports creation of new business opportunities for Oregon farmers, chefs, and other entrepreneurs.
One of my concerns as a person raised in southern Oregon, where six generations of my family has lived, is to make sure that rural and outdoor growers have a chance to succeed in this new economy. That means protecting the patients and growers who have come to rely on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program during this transition period. It also means avoiding imposition of extremely complex and costly requirements that would drive less sophisticated growers away from the legal market.
Measure 91 presents an opportunity for communities that have relied heavily on timber to diversify their economies to include industrial hemp and marijuana crops. This transition, coupled with transition to more sustainable forestry practices, could create jobs for local people while at the same time protecting forests, clean water, and wildlife.
By successfully implementing Measure 91, we can create a positive new chapter for communities around Oregon.
Photos are from our site visit to Williams, Oregon. We visited with farmers, processors, and other leaders from the Oregon Sungrown Growers Guild.