An estimated 1,800 people have attended seven marijuana forums held so far by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana.
Rob Patridge, chairman of the commission and Klamath County district attorney, said the commission has come up with some possible ways to address issues raised at the statewide forums.
Among the ideas under consideration:
— The liquor control commission may ask the Oregon Legislature to create two new licenses, one for marijuana testing labs and another for research and development. The agency is also considering a requiring training for budtenders, the people who working the counter at retail shops. The original law creates four licenses for people and businesses that produce, handle and sell marijuana.
— Agency staff are talking with Oregon State Police about how to investigate financial crimes involving the regulated marijuana industry. One possibility: assigning an officer to the liquor control commission, a model similar to the Oregon Lottery.
— The commission has asked the Oregon Legislature for $ 350,000 to launch a public education campaign targeting the law’s personal possession and cultivation provisions, which go into place July 1.
— Patridge said the agency may ask the Oregon Legislature to allow it to delay the introduction of marijuana-infused edibles, which have been controversial in Colorado and Washington. The agency must grapple with the kinds of edibles that will be allowed, how they are packaged and marketed. “I don’t want to delay this, but I want to do it right,” said Patridge. “If I think we don’t have enough time, I am going to say we don’t have enough time.”
It’s not yet clear whether the state will allow medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational shops to share the same location. Patridge said the lack of regulation over medical marijuana production would complicate efforts to keep recreational shops in check.
Gov. Kate Brown, who was sworn in this week, has not yet weighed on in her views on how the state should proceed with marijuana regulation. Prior to his abrupt departure from office, former Gov. John Kitzhaber made clear he thought personal possession and cultivation limits were too high and that medical and recreational marijuana should be merged. Whether Brown shares that view is not yet known. Patridge said he’s briefed members of Brown’s staff but has not yet heard from her personally.
— Noelle Crombie