Again on March 1, I ran by a legislative forecast and report for Oregon hashish in 2019. In that publish, I touched on six fundamental points: hemp, marijuana manufacturing limits, interstate gross sales, social consumption, native develop tax and off-work use. As we transfer into the house stretch of the 2019 session, every challenge has been bandied about: some are near passage and others have died. Beneath is a rundown of the state of every subject and a few ideas on the overall scene. (Spoiler alert: not too impressed.)
Hemp. Hemp is now the primary money crop in Oregon at $1 billion a yr. The draft invoice to look at is HB 2740, which, after an preliminary listening to, was gutted and full of 60 pages of textual content (we’re right down to 32 at current). In these pages, there are two chief proposals: 1) the creation of an Oregon Hemp Fee that may levy a 5% manufacturing tax on hemp to fund itself; and a couple of) a basic re-write Oregon hemp legal guidelines to get us all prepared for 2018 Farm Invoice. Folks within the know are arguing that, as written, HB 2740 might put Oregon out of compliance with 2014 Farm invoice, whereas failing to satisfy federal Division of Agriculture (USDA) strictures underneath the 2018 Farm Invoice — which might be disastrous. The considering right here is that the feds will regulate hemp extra like tobacco than tomatoes, and that given early expressions of federal concern over leakage of “excessive THC hemp” underneath the Oregon program to this point, it will be finest if this invoice dies. If that occurs, Oregon can be nicely served to convene a gaggle of stakeholders to observe USDA and FDA intently, and craft a proposal that squares with federal developments.
Marijuana Manufacturing Cap. The proposed moratorium on new manufacturing will be discovered at SB 218. This invoice would permit the OLCC to refuse to challenge marijuana manufacturing licenses “primarily based on market demand and different related components.” It initially failed on Senate flooring, was revived by a former Joint Committee member, despatched again to the foundations committee and amended to sundown in 2022. SB 218 has since cleared the Senate and goes to the Home for a piece session in the present day, Might 20, the place it has an unsure future. The deadline is Friday to decide.
SB 218 is essential laws for Governor Brown, who needs to point out our U.S. lawyer, Billy Williams, that Oregon is taking oversupply critically. However is that this a critical repair? No, it isn’t– and fewer so with the sundown. As of in the present day, OLCC already has issued over 1,100 producer licenses with one other 1,000 within the queue. If Oregon had wished to cap marijuana manufacturing within the OLCC market, it’s about 4 years and 900 grows too late. So this invoice is for optics and would have little sensible impact, if handed.
Interstate Gross sales. This one has been getting a variety of press recently. The proposal at challenge, SB 582, not too long ago handed the Senate and would permit for interstate gross sales upon a change in federal legislation or enforcement priorities. SB 582 now heads to the Home and seems to have a pathway by the constructing. Round this time final yr, when the change thought first started to flow into, I opined on the authorized and political hazards of interstate gross sales. I nonetheless imagine that Oregon legislators and 582 boosters don’t recognize the Constitutional compact clause implications of this proposal (please, somebody inform me what I’m lacking right here) and I don’t assume an try to open the market primarily based on one other flimsy tolerance memo is a superb thought. On the flip facet, the interstate gross sales invoice can be a powerful gesture of help to Oregon producers. It’s additionally an try to arrange these producers for when the partitions come down, even when it feels a bit like Christmas procuring in July.
Social Consumption. As predicted, this one failed but once more. The underside line is that nobody needs to pry open the Oregon Clear Indoor Air Act for an exemption. This implies no hashish lounges and possibly no short-term occasion permits or excursions in 2019.
Off-work Use. Lifeless too, sadly. Neither SB 639 and HB 2233 bought any actual traction in committee, on account of a few components: employer lobbying and a prevailing perception that Emerald Metal v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is controlling. The latter is a dialogue for an additional day, but it surely appears to be like like medical marijuana sufferers can nonetheless be terminated for off-work use in 2019, even at jobs unrelated to security or federal grants. That’s a disgrace.
Expungement and Discount of Marijuana-related Convictions. There are just a few promising payments masking convictions. First, SB 420 would permit people to make use of an expedited course of to put aside most convictions for possession, supply and manufacture of marijuana, as long as the underlying conduct is not against the law. If in case you have a conviction that wouldn’t be unlawful now, you possibly can file a bit of paper and expedited course of for eliminating conviction. Elsewhere, companion invoice SB 975 would permit for discount in offense classification for different marijuana convictions.
Ban on Transportation Techniques Growth Prices (SDCs). Final however not least, SB 365 (a.okay.a. the “anti-Deschutes County invoice”) has handed the Senate and is shifting cleanly by the Home. Deschutes County has usually made a large number of hashish regulation, and it’s the lone Oregon county to try to levy SDC on hashish manufacturing. The transfer was uncommon as a result of cities, and never counties, are inclined to instate SDCs. It additionally doubtless quantities to a discriminatory tax on grows. Count on this invoice to cross.
All in all, policymaking for hashish in Salem seems to be pretty chaotic: hemp is a large number, troublesome points like off-work use are unresolved, and sure proposed (and far publicized) laws has principally symbolic worth. Nonetheless, among the work across the edges will probably be useful in 2019, and we’re particularly hopeful that the conviction and expunction payments proceed to maneuver by with out challenge. We are going to verify again yet one more time on the finish of the session with a full wrap-up.