OCA Legisaltive Update 1-26-22

Hello Oregon Cannabis Association,

 

I’m Jonathan Manton and I’m grateful to serve as your advocate and Oregon lobbyist.  The 2022 Oregon Legislative Assembly will convene on February 1st.  In even numbered years, the Oregon Legislature meets for a ‘short session’ lasting only 6 weeks.  While the agenda will be limited compared to that of a full six-month session in an odd numbered year, the pace is frantic.   

 

This year’s edition will also be historic, as it will be the final session for Oregon’s longest serving legislator, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem).  It will also be the first session with Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) serving as Speaker of the House.  Fasten your seatbelts.  And take advantage of one of America’s best state legislative websites to track much of the action if you’d like.

 

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov

 

The OCA is actively engaged with numerous legislators, staff members, committee administrators and agency leaders to protect your interests.  We identified several immediate legislative priorities, including:  preventing tax increases on cannabis licensees; renewing the state’s moratorium on issuing new cannabis producer, processor, wholesale and retail licenses; improving the regulatory environment so the state of Oregon views our industry as an emerging sector of future economic growth worthy of support rather than suspicion; and preparing for the day when interstate commerce and federal legalization occurs.  We work with industry partners seeking broad coalitions, and we strive to continually view our work through an equity lens while learning how best we can contribute to building a more just world.     

 

I want to highlight several bills for your attention and encourage you to take action:

 

  • SB 1506 is Sponsored by Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Ontario) and Rep. Mark Owens (R-Crane).  This bill proposes allowing local governments to increase the tax on the sale of cannabis items from 3% to 10%.  Along with our industry partners, OCA continues to vigorously oppose this proposal.  We encourage all readers to contact your State House Member and State Senator to voice your concerns.  You can identify your elected officials by entering your address at the “Find Your Legislator” along the lower right portion of the page here:

 

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/citizen_engagement/

 

Additional Senators we suggest you contact are:

 

Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Ontario)

Sen.LynnFindley@oregonlegislature.gov

Rep. Mark Owens (R-Crane)

Rep.MarkOwens@oregonlegislature.gov

 

Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) Chair of Senate Finance and Revenue Committee

Sen.LeeBeyer@oregonlegislature.gov

 

Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) Senate Majority Leader

Sen.RobWagner@oregonlegislature.gov

 

 

  • HB 4016 will be introduced by the House Economic Recovery and Prosperity Committee.  This bill will include a number of provisions sought by our industry, by OLCC, and by potentially other stakeholders.  The license moratorium language will be found here.  We expect a public hearing on HB 4016, debate over several proposed amendments to the original text, and at least a public hearing in the first week of February. 

 

  • HB 4048 will be introduced by the House Rules Committee, and will include Oregon’s Cannabis Industry as one of several  “Emerging Sectors”.   The bill directs the Oregon Business Development Department (OBBD) to conduct a comprehensive economic and market analysis of the cannabis sector.  OBBD is Oregon’s business development agency and has no regulatory authority.  HB 4048 also directs OBBD to assess economic growth opportunities for cannabis as well as potential regulatory changes that could be made to best prepare our sector for growth in the event that interstate commerce and/or federal legalization occurs.

 

  • SB 1579, the Equity Investment Act , is an exciting bill being championed by industry partners, leaders, and allies.  The bill calls out the disparate impact on communities of color from decades of failed drug war era policies and unjust drug enforcement.  The act establishes a fund to provide grants to community-based organizations supporting workforce development, job training, and paths to home and land ownership.  To learn how you can get involved, visit: 

http://oregonequityact.com

 

  • HB 4061, introduced by the House Agriculture, Land Use, and Water Committee would empower the state Water Resources Department to investigate and punish water theft, specifically targeting illegal cannabis grow operations.  Along with our industry partners, OCA is working to ensure that the bill does not single out cannabis operations for harsher penalties than that which would be applied to illegal grows of any other crops.   

 

The devastating impacts to Southern Oregon communities attributed to drug cartels will be one of the session’s highest profile issues.  Several bills will be discussed that attempt to give local law enforcement more authority to search suspected sites and more resources to combat 

organized crime.  OCA will continue to educate lawmakers and fight any narrative that associates our legal, licensed, and responsible businesses with this situation.  We stand with our legal growers and members in Southern Oregon to help ensure safe communities where our businesses can prosper.    

 

I’ll close by asking everyone to stay engaged.  There well could be additional bills and amendments to bills of interest that are not yet covered here.   Please remember, our Democracy is not a spectator sport.

 

Thanks so much for the honor of representing the OCA!  Reach me anytime if I may be of assistance.

 

-Jonathan

 

manton@sawneeservices.org

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