06-29-2017  1:55 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Local Government, Employers Welcome Youth to SummerWorks

A record 1,150 youth will gain real-world work experience in jobs across Portland metro ...

Multnomah County Library Hosts ‘We Refuse to Be Enemies’

Library will hold a series of social justice workshops this summer ...

The Skanner Wins NNPA Award for Best Layout and Design

Our graphic designer Patricia Irvin wins for July 2016 issues ...

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ask Ernie the Attorney

Ernest Warren's primary practice is personal injury, real property, corporate and criminal practice in Ore. and Wash. ...

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

cannabis plant

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The state Senate voted Wednesday to impose stricter regulations on Oregon's medical marijuana program as lawmakers get ready for the legalization of pot for recreational use.

Senators overwhelmingly supported the measure 29-1, but now it goes the House, where it's viewed with much more skepticism from key lawmakers who staunchly oppose a provision allowing cities and counties to ban marijuana stores in their boundaries.

Supporters of the bill say Oregon's minimally regulated medical marijuana program produces far too much of the drug, and much of the excess ends up on the black market. They say reining it in is crucial to creating a market for retail marijuana.

"Right now, under this regressive federal system where it's illegal to transport it across state lines, we're sitting on this huge supply of medical marijuana," said Rep. Ginny Burdick, a Portland Democrat who was instrumental in crafting the bill. "The stuff that's now going to the black market, let's get that funneled to the recreational market."

The bill would impose new regulations, including limits on the number of plants at a single grow site, an inventory tracking and reporting system, inspection requirements and an Oregon residency mandate for growers and patients. Those provisions are broadly supported.

The controversy arises from an option for local governments to refuse permission for marijuana businesses to operate, including stores, testing or processing facilities, and grow sites. Democrats, particularly those in the House, fear the provision would make it too difficult for patients to get the drug.

"I don't think at this point we should deny patients access to medicine," said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, the lone dissenter in the Senate.

In the House, the measure will go to the Ways and Means Committee, led by co-chair Peter Buckley, an Ashland Democrat who has been among the most vocal critics of the local opt-out in the Senate bill. Still, Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, does not want to see the bill die.

"The speaker believes regulations to the medical marijuana program are necessary in order for the successful implementation of Measure 91, and she supports the ongoing effort to address both issues this session," said Lindsey O'Brien, a spokeswoman for Kotek. Measure 91 was last year's ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana.

 

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