The History of Marijuana Regulation in Oregon

The History of Marijuana Regulation in Oregon

The Oregon Legislature will convene at the capitol in Salem late September for the latest round of interim committee meetings.
Although the Legislature won’t officially be in session, these meetings offer an insight into the kinds of bills that could come up next year when it is.
Legislation shapes the regulatory environment in which businesses operate. This is especially important for Oregon’s burgeoning marijuana-related industries. Those complexities also combine with an increasingly patchwork set of policies in other states and at the federal level.

Oregon’s regulatory framework was established with the passage of Measure 91 in the November 2014 general election. In response to its passage, the Legislature formed the Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91.

That committee first met during the 2015 regular session. In that time, it considered 26 bills and passed five.

By the start of the 2016 session, its name was changed to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization. Five bills were assigned to that committee during that short session, and all but one was signed into law.

The 2017 regular session saw its name change yet again, this time to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation. Approximately 28 bills were considered by the committee that session, with only nine making it to passage.

The committee was ultimately dissolved after the session and won’t be meeting during next month’s legislative days. However, legislation and policies could still be drafted and introduced that have the potential to affect the marijuana industry.

State laws can obviously change the way that business is conducted, and agencies can also create administrative laws that carry the same legal weight as those passed by the Legislature. Federal policy creates additional regulatory and legal challenges, much more so than at the state level.

It has recently been reported that President Donald Trump may support federal legislation giving states more power to decide whether they wish to legalize marijuana. The passage of such legislation can create opportunity, as well as possible risks, for industry practitioners.

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