Lawmaker wants dispensaries to fill gap in recreational pot sales


A John Day Republican thinks medical marijuana outposts should sell recreational pot until retailers are ready to move forward.

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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

A Republican lawmaker from John Day thinks medical marijuana outposts should sell recreational pot until retailers are ready to move forward.

Ted Ferrioli’s proposal would also allow medical pot growers to sell surpluses to recreational buyers, Portland Tribune reports.

The ballot initiative voters passed last fall, Measure 91, legalizes personal possession of marijuana for people ages 21 and older starting in July and calls for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to begin accepting applications for retailers and other businesses by January 2016. Regulators and lawmakers anticipate that due to the workload involved in setting up the longterm rules for a new system to track, license and tax marijuana businesses, recreational pot retailers might not open until later that year.

That means there will be no legal growers or retailers when the law takes effect. Ferrioli said the state needs an interim solution for consumers who want to purchase legal pot in July.

The committee tasked with implementing Measure 91 is interested in Ferrioli’s plan, Willamette Week reports.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), who chairs the House-Senate committee on legal weed, tells WW she likes Ferrioli’s plan.

“I don’t know that we can pull this off,” Burdick says, “but I think the concept is a good one. It would allow people to get marijuana without going through other channels that might be illegal.” 

In response to the new laws, the OLCC is seeking more power than voters may have originally thought they were granting.

In Willamette Week, Aaron Mesh writes that the OLCC is planning a program that would provide broad enforcement powers.

OLCC chairman Rob Patridge declined to be interviewed for this story. He has said the agency’s new “peace officers” would carry out rules that mirror the authority the agency has over bars, liquor stores and even backyard keggers—even though the commission rarely exercises its full power.

“We don’t want the agency to be a paper tiger when it comes to enforcing the law,” Patridge, who is also the Klamath County District Attorney, said in January.

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