Ginny Burdick and Ann Lininger will co-chair marijuana committee in Oregon Legislature

Ginny Burdick and Ann Lininger will co-chair marijuana committee in Oregon Legislature

Veteran state Sen. Ginny Burdick of Portland and freshman Rep. Ann Lininger of Lake Oswego will co-chair a joint legislative committee overseeing implementation of the new voter-approved law legalizing marijuana, House and Senate leaders announced Thursday.

The two Democrats will be in the middle of a broad array of pot-related issues coming before the committee, including whether to make any changes to Measure 91 — which was approved by voters in November.  Also, the panel will consider what kind of direction lawmakers will give to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which will oversee the production and sale of the drug for recreational purposes.

Some legislators have already said they want tighter restrictions on where stores can be located and on marijuana-infused edibles.  One senator suggested this week that the medical marijuana program should be shut down after retail sales start.

Burdick has chaired the Senate Revenue Committee since 2007, giving her expertise in tax issues, which will also likely be part of the marijuana debate next year.  The League of Oregon Cities plans to ask legislators to allow local taxes on the marijuana, which is likely to run into strong resistance from Measure 91 supporters who want to keep taxes relatively low in hopes of swaying consumers away from the black market.

Lininger is a former Clackamas County commissioner who was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the House in 2014.  Jared Mason-Gere, a spokesman for House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said she was chosen for her previous elected service and expertise as a lawyer.

Lininger, who backed passage of Measure 91, said, “My starting place is going to be that the measure voters approved is really important.  We need to respect the will of voters.”

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and incoming Rep.Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, will be vice-chairs on the panel.

Other members are: Sens. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg; Lee Beyer, D-Springfield; and Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day; and Reps. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, and Andy Olson, R-Albany; and incoming Rep. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton.

Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, also announced appointments to other committees for the 2015 session.

— Jeff Mapes

Marijuana news.

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