Today in Oregon there are not one, but two hot topics before Lawmakers. Two smoking hot house bills concerning Cannabis have been introduced. The first being HB 3640, brought to Oregon House of Representatives by State Senator Floyd Prozanski and State Rep. Peter Buckley. This Bill is an attempt by forward thinking elected Oregonians to establish a sub-structure within the longstanding Oregon Medical Marijuana Program where patients, growers and distributors have safe, legal access to legitimate facilities.
This bill opens the dialogue to a much needed conversation here in Oregon. Patients need to be allowed safe access to their medication permitted to them under Oregon law. At the same time Cannabis growers need a place to relieve themselves of the excess flowers after harvest. This bill solves both of problems which should have been protected against long ago. Dispensaries, clubs, collectives, apothecaries, pharmacies, lounges, cafes, whatever you refer to them as, will be legalized instead of overlooked.
Patients who, under OMMP law technically “own” the Cannabis being produced by a registered grower can authorize the transfer of marijuana from their grower to a facility and from the facility to a valid Oregon cardholder or their primary caregiver. Necessary Provisions involved in the bill focus on facilities maintaining records of transfer from grower or grow site and cannabis to patient.
This bill also demolishes the well-known grey area in Oregon when it comes to the obvious and necessary transfer of cash for goods as in any economy, by allowing for the reimbursement of costs to compensate the grower for production expenses. This could also help lessen the amount of or ultimately end needless police raids and costly incarcerations in Oregon over medical and recreational Cannabis.
Saving the best for last, Oregon House Bill 3371— With budgetary woes and compounding revenue problems in Oregon, the House Committee on Revenue has recently introduced a bill that would effectively end prohibition in Oregon, by establishing licensing, regulation and taxation of Cannabis similar to alcohols model. Some in Salem doubts if Cannabis prohibition will remain a reality as public perception and perspective is shifting in favor of the plant. There are bills currently in the works for legalization in 2016 and other bills no doubt being drafted after Measure 80s narrow defeat in 2012.
This bill would allow adults 21 and older to grow up to six mature plants and possess up to 24 ounces of usable Cannabis, the same amounts currently allowed for patients under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program regulations. Marijuana producers would be taxed $35 per ounce, the profit from which would be deposited into a “Cannabis Tax Account,” 40 percent is dedicated to state schools, with 20 percent each going to Oregon State Police, the general fund, and services for mental health and addiction.
The Oregon Sheriffs Association opposes the bill of course as they adamantly oppose any Pro-Cannabis movements or legislation. No doubt they view this as further budgetary constraints for them as well as a reduction in the need for militarization; Rep. Wally Hicks (R) Grants Pass, OR is worried about making the price higher than the black-market rate with taxation, which he says would defeat the purpose of reducing private marijuana growth, sales and consumption.
This bill also reduces criminal sanctions by punishing violations of the Act by delivering a $1,000 fine. Punishments for certain other offenses are a $650 fine. It directly limits applicability of crimes in this state related to manufacturing, distributing or possessing marijuana to person less than 21 years of age or, for delivery of marijuana, to person who delivers marijuana to person less than 21 years of age. This bill if passed will become effective on July 1, 2014.
Here is a reminder of how a bill works:
Oregon HB 3371 is moving through rather quickly in the legal sense:
Feb 25, 2013: First reading. Referred to Speaker’s desk.
Mar 4, 2013: Referred to Judiciary with subsequent referral to Revenue.
Apr 2, 2013: Public Hearing and Possible Work Session scheduled.
Passage through House
Passage through Senate
Signing into law
It is apparent that thanks to Washington and Colorado, Oregon lawmakers have finally realized Cannabis really is an untapped economic recovery. The war on Drugs has failed miserably. There are 18 legal Medical Cannabis states plus the District itself. As of March 6, 2013 there are 11 States with Pending Legislation to Legalize Medical Marijuana. Two states stand in direct opposition of our Federal Governments Cannabis policy. The Federal Government still has yet to pursue anything against the defiant legal states, or even make a statement. The U.S. Department of Justice review has been under way since shortly after last fall’s elections. The people have spoken, and obviously will continue to speak.
Bill Introduction: http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measures/hb3300.dir/hb3371.intro.html