Oregon State Protects Against Federal Government – As the Attorney General and other Justice Department officials try to degrade protections that keep the federal government from prosecuting federal cannabis laws in legalized states (such as the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment and the Cole Memo), many states, including Oregon, are taking a look at the tools they have available to protect their citizens.
At the end of May US Attorney Billy Williams reportedly requested a meeting with Governor Brown’s office. The core issue of the meeting was a report from the State’s police which concluded that Oregon remained one of the top sources of black market cannabis. The concern here is that Oregon may not be complying with the Cole Memo, a set of guidelines from the Justice Department that sets up rules legalized states should follow to avoid federal prosecution of cannabis laws. In a presentation during the meeting, the state defended its seed-to-sale tracking measures and other efforts to comply with federal guidelines and also spoke positively about the tax revenue–over $60.2 million to date–and thousands of jobs created by the industry. Although black market trade and a surplus of product are a concern in the state, officials and law enforcement are working to curtail them.
More than just speaking with officials from the Justice Department, Oregon is in the process of finalizing a law that would shield consumer information from the feds if they were to begin to attempt to prosecute federal laws, which still view cannabis as illegal. The bipartisan measure passed with overwhelming support and is headed to the Governor, who is believed to sign it into law.
The law will bring the state in line with others with recreational cannabis sales: Colorado and Alaska both have laws like this on the book, and Washington State has self-imposed industry standards that protect the information of consumers. Once being signed into law, providers would have 30 days to destroy customers’ information from databases and would be banned from record-keeping in the future. Customers can still opt-in, if they wish, to newsletters from dispensaries that provide promotional coupons or birthday discounts, and the law does not apply to medical marijuana patients.