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Smoke Signals 7/1-7/8

Still Not Clear



July 1 is upon us, and the uncertainty surrounding Measure 91 abounds.

One of the problems with the new regulations is the way they are set up to mimic the alcohol system, which potentially leaves regulations to counties. In particular, House Bill 3400 would allow local governments to ban marijuana sales in counties where at least 55 percent of voters opposed Measure 91—which, by the numbers and locale, means 15 counties and all of those east of the Cascades (no, not Deschutes, relax stoners).

But the irony is that Measure 91 specifically aims to eliminate the black market, however if conservative counties ban dispensaries where people can buy cannabis legally, the black market will most likely thrive in those areas.

In an attempt to keep things as small as possible, Measure 91 also includes much stricter grow restrictions for the cannabis industry. According to Michael Hughes, a Bend attorney, one of the only ways to truly get rid of the black market is to allow legal grow operations the space to fulfill the market demand. "The only way to truly get rid of the black market is when you produce a whole bunch of cannabis for practically nothing, and a person can go down to a store and buy it for practically nothing...Oregon can do that tomorrow if they just let the growers do their thing," says Hughes.

It seems that every day now there are new regulations being proposed and added. For example, House Bill 2041 is currently awaiting Senate approval, and would implement a 20 percent sales tax on recreational weed. With the constant changes, Hughes says that while he is constantly checking up on the new laws and rules, it is currently a bit of a waiting game to see how all of the legislation plays out.

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