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Bend City Council appoints subcommittee to research local marijuana regulation

With the clocking ticking down to the July 1 launcn date, Bend City Council has created a three member subcommittee to research ways Bend might prepare for the legalization of recreational marijuana. Councilors Victor Chudowsky, Casey Roats, and Nathan Boddie are considering the options the City has for regulating the time, place, and manner in which retail and other pot-related establishments do business. While most councilors supported letting state-level commissions lead the way, they also acknowledge the importance of maintaining local control over certain aspects of the emerging market.

"I think the main principle to advance," Mayor Jim Clinton said in the work session preceding the May 20 City Council meeting, "is the City of Bend needs to have local control over all those things that are affecting our city....the location, when they can be open and stuff like that."

The committee likely will focus on the recreational market, since it remains unclear where a number of bills targeting medical dispensaries will land. On the whole, Council's discussion of the issue was brief and dispassionate. No major concerns were raised, aside from the need to maintain local control.

"It's a question of recognizing that this passed, the voters wanted it, looking at it in a way that's free from stigma and stereotypes," explained Councilor Chudowsky. "I know there are concerns about having these things near schools, that type of thing."

Councilor Boddie encouraged his fellow councilors to look to other cities for possible solutions, rather than reinventing the wheel.

"We don't want people loitering around a school with a bong," Boddie said, "but at the same time, there are probably models out there that work, and others that don't."

On the state level, the Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91 is currently considering 13 House bills and 12 Senate bills related to the regulation of cannabis. Below is selection of the bills currently under consideration.

HB 2033: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany) Summary: Directs State Board of Pharmacy to classify any synthetically manufactured cannabinoid as controlled substance in Schedule I. Makes exception (for those approved by the Food and Drug Administration for therapeutic purposes).

HB 2040: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) Summary: Prohibits medical marijuana facilities and licensed producers, processors and sellers of marijuana from being located within one mile of school. Becomes operative January 1, 2016.

HB 2041: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Greg Smith ( R-Heppner) Summary: Provides that local governments may prohibit medical marijuana facilities and producers, processors and sellers of marijuana from being located within one mile of school.

HB 2676: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) Summary: Directs Oregon Liquor Control Commission to register medical marijuana production sites, processing sites, wholesale sites and individuals who perform work that requires handling marijuana. Provides for testing of marijuana through existing laboratory accreditation program. Transfers regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries from Oregon Health Authority to commission.

HB 2885: Chief Sponsors: Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Lake Oswego), Rep. Ken Helm (D-Washington County) Summary: Provides that Oregon Liquor Control Commission may delay issuing licenses to applicants for processing marijuana products that are intended to be consumed as food or as potable liquid until July 1, 2016.

HB 3238: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) Summary: Directs Department of Justice to study and report on barriers to extending credit to marijuana operations that are not criminal under state law.

HB 3298: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland) Summary: Prohibits sale or transfer of cannabinoid products by medical marijuana facility or person who holds license to sell marijuana at retail if cannabinoid product is not labeled (with information regarding health risks, dosage, and cannabinoid and THC content).

HB 3299: Chief Sponsors: Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland), Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Lake Oswego) Summary: Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Education for State School Fund and Oregon Health Authority for the purpose of developing and implementing marijuana abuse prevention curricula and marijuana abuse prevention public information program.

HB 3369: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Lake Oswego) Summary: Prohibits Oregon Liquor Control Commission from issuing license to producer, processor or seller of marijuana if proposed premises for producing, processing or selling marijuana is within 1,000 feet of school. Exempts existing license holders and home growers.

HB 3400: Chief Sponsor: Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) Summary: Directs Oregon Health Authority to develop and maintain database of information related to producing and processing of marijuana by persons responsible for marijuana grow sites under Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

SB 479: Chief Sponsor: Sen. Chris Edwards (D-District 7) Summary: Creates Task Force on Clinical Research of Cannabis and directs task force to study and report on development of medical cannabis industry that provides patients with medical products that meet individual patient needs.

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