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    View from the dais

    Measure 91 Committee Meeting

    My son Adam testifying about the need for prevention education for young people.

    After five months of teamwork and a few ups and downs, the Joint Committee to Implement Measure 91 has negotiated legislation to support the roll-out of Oregon’s adult-use marijuana sector, protect families and communities, and reduce activity in the gray market. You can read more about the key elements of this package here.

    I really like elements of this bill that will enable Oregonians to:

    • expunge marijuana offenses so people will not be stigmatized by conduct that’s no longer illegal,
    • educate young people that marijuana is not appropriate for them, even if it is legal for adults to use responsibly,
    • give local government tools they need to regulate legal marijuana businesses,
    • reduce activity in the unregulated market,
    • create reasonable opportunities for businesses to access start-up capital,
    • strengthen testing of marijuana products to protect people from contaminants and help them understand the potency of what they are consuming,
    • track impacts on energy and water use so we can encourage efficient use of these resources,
    • protect workers by giving them the right to organize and by providing whistleblower safeguards, and
    • provide certainty for an emerging sector so it can thrive and provide economic opportunity in our state.

    I also really like the fact that we developed this package with strong teamwork from patients, industry members, local government representatives, and others. Our committee voted the bill out unanimously, and we hope the House and Senate votes will also show strong bipartisan support.

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    Marijuana Maneuvers

    Last night we reunited the Joint Committee to Implement Measure 91 for the first time since the Big Breakup. By breakup, I mean the Senate’s decision to form its own breakaway committee to push through a bill that will allow local governments to prohibit legal medical marijuana businesses without a prior vote of the people. You can watch Sen. Burdick and I debate the issue on KATU’s Your Voice, Your Vote in the video below.

    The evening began when our Senate colleagues convened a meeting of their breakaway committee to work their medical marijuana bill, SB 964. They declined to hold a public hearing on the controversial opt-out provision and passed it to the Senate floor for a vote.

    Senate Special Committee on Implementing Measure 91

    Here are the Senators at work – plus Sen. Ferrioli, hiding.

    At 5:30 p.m., I convened our Joint Committee to Implement Measure 91 and legislative counsel Mark Mayer walked us through a draft framework to support implementation of M91.

    The framework includes elements to support:

    • Licensing for growers, processors, retailers, and providers of cannabis seeds and immature plants,
    • Certification to support marijuana research,
    • Seed-to-sale tracking for marijuana plants,
    • Compliance with state land use rules,
    • Taxation at the point of sale for marijuana products,
    • Reduction and expungement of marijuana crimes,
    • Civil enforcement of marijuana rules , and
    • Preemption against local governments prohibiting all recreational marijuana businesses without a public vote

    We’ll hold our first public hearing on these ideas Wednesday, and we welcome your input.

    A friend of mine recently observed that if you like law or if you like sausage, you probably don’t want to watch either one of them getting made. The lawmaking process for our Joint Committee has been a little grisly, for sure. That said, I think our committee members share enough common ground – a commitment to Oregon families, communities, and small businesses – that we can still do good work together to implement legal marijuana in Oregon.

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    In the Fields

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    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.

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    Photos are from our site visit to Williams, Oregon. We visited with farmers, processors, and other leaders from the Oregon Sungrown Growers Guild.