Legislators scramble day before pot becomes legal

Two bills are sent to Gov. Kate Brown for a final signature; another three advance through House and Senate.

Share this article!


The Oregon Legislature churned through a package of measures Tuesday that would implement the new legal recreational marijuana system.

Two bills were sent to Gov. Kate Brown for a final signature, another three advanced through  House and Senate.

The bills that advanced to Brown’s desk were House Bill 3400 and HB 2041. HB 3400 creates the framework for the system including the regulations for certifying labs and packaging. 

“It also lets the Oregon Liquor Control Commission set production size limits on recreational producers,” [Oregon Cannabis Political Action Committee representative Geoff] Sugerman said in a story published by the Statesman Journal. “This bill sets an overall framework for recreational marijuana, and among other things, ensures that excess medical marijuana doesn’t wind up on the black market.”

HB 2041 establishes a tax system for recreational pot that launches in 2016. Retailers would be taxed 17 percent throughout Oregon. Local jurisdictions could add up to 3% more to raise revenue for themselves.

The other two pieces of legislation, Senate Joint Measure 12 and Senate Bill 460, now move to the House for consideration. SJM 12 is a recommendation to the federal government to reschedule marijuana, or take it off the Schedule I list.

This has been a case, Sugerman said, of the federal government saying retailers have to pay taxes on the sale of what it considers illegal drugs, but not allowing these same retailers to take the normal business deductions associated with their business. It would also allow banks previously unwilling to open accounts for commercial marijuana producers and processors who want to deposit money a way to allow such activity.

(SOURCE: Statesman Journal)

Currently, marijuana has a higher federal classification than methamphetamine.

“Really, the memorial is our little love note to Congress to say, ‘Please help us unscramble this issue by unscheduling marijuana and dealing with the financial prohibitions in the federal banking system,’” said Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, who asked for the memorial to be drafted.

Ferrioli said that “probably the most immediate benefit” of descheduling marijuana would be that universities could ramp up research on the plant.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

Finally, the Senate passed Senate Bill 460 on a 23-6 vote. The measure makes it legal for potential users 21 and older to buy recreational pot on Oct. 1 and beyond.

Ferrioli said, “I believe the Legislature has done a remarkable job of balancing the interests of recreational users with protections for medical users and respect for local control. Not everyone will agree, but I believe the package of bills for implementing recreational use is some of our best work.”