Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization voted 9-0 to move HB 4014, a technical fix bill that includes provisions that lift residency requirements for cannabis businesses, to the House floor with a “do pass” recommendation. The Oregon Cannabis Association has made repealing residency requirements a priority for this legislative session because the requirements have the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for Oregon businesses, especially small businesses and businesses owned by women and people of color, to attract needed investment.
HB 4014 also directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to develop a program to support small businesses, funds a pilot program to prevent cannabis use among youth, amends a number of criminal penalties for cannabis, and makes numerous technical fixes.
At Tuesday's hearing, the Committee also discussed ways to ensure that smaller outdoor cultivators are not pushed out by new entrants into the industry. Senator Prozanski and Reps. Buckley and Wilson expressed some unease at lifting the residency requirement but agreed to support HB 4014 with the hope that these discussions would continue in the coming weeks.
HB 4014 will head to the House floor later this week. From there, it moves to the Senate. Because the legislation came out of a House-Senate Joint Committee, it can go directly to the Senate floor with the Senate chair’s signature instead of moving to another committee.
Next up is SB 1511, which includes the Oregon Cannabis Association's other legislative priority: ensuring that OMMP patients will have access to affordable medicine through OLCC-licensed stores. The Committee has scheduled a public hearing for SB 1511 this Friday, likely followed by a work session on the -13 amendments next Tuesday.
SB 1511 also includes two other provisions OCA supports:
- The bill expands Oregon’s successful “early start” program by authorizing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell certain cannabinoid edibles, topicals and extracts to adults who are not OMMP cardholders until December 31, 2016.
- It includes a “stay” on plant limits for OMMP growers in good standing who have submitted applications to OLCC and/or OHA.
Senator Burdick said Tuesday she may introduce a third committee bill to allow additional provisions to be pursued. She said that her goal of moving only “consensus” bills during this short session still holds. Controversial provisions will not be advanced in either SB 1511 or a third bill.
Finally, Rep. Read has sponsored a bill to update Oregon's statutes to remove criminal liability from banks and credit unions working with licensed Oregon cannabis businesses and direct the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to look into state-level solutions to banking access until federal relief is available.
The Oregon Cannabis Association supports HB 4094, which moves to the House floor later this week.