Wednesday afternoon State lawmakers gathered together to examined “legislative concepts” that would change Oregon’s marijuana laws. Updates were made concerning the overall progression of legal marijuana programs by representatives from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Oregon Health Authority.
One legislative concept, LC 145, makes what one legislative lawyer called “technical fixes.” If LC 145 became a bill, it would:
- Remove the residency requirement for marijuana businesses
- Increase spending flexibility for the OLCC by allowing greater distribution of fees collected through licensing
- Create a pilot project to educate children on the effects of marijuana use
- Reduce penalties for certain marijuana related crimes
Another legislative concept considered by the committee is LC 180. It has three primary policies:
- Allow marijuana businesses licensed with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to obtain special registration for handling medical grade products
- Makes it so marijuana retailers cannot collect taxes from medical marijuana program patients
- Authorizes dispensaries to sell new types of products until Dec. 31, including edibles, carbon dioxide vaporizers, topical balms and extracts
Rep. Carl Wilson also brought forward LC 232, which would require that industrial hemp products intended for human consumption be lab tested in accordance with OHA marijuana testing rules.
Lawmakers were told by OHA representatives they are still uneasy about children potentially using marijuana products. Advertising for dispensaries and products is not as strictly regulated as the agency would hope. OHA also disclosed the logo that will appear on products containing marijuana, which shows an exclamation mark and a cannabis leaf on a red background.
OLCC staff told the committee that the agency is now accepting recreational marijuana license applications. More than 540 applications have been received, and 300 have already been completed. Around 200 licenses have been issued for producers and processors and 75 for retailers.
As time moves on, the committee may propose the legislative concepts as bills during the Legislature’s five-week February session.