STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Oregon Cannabis Export Bill Gets Hearing, and a Warning

A bill that would create the possibility of Oregon exporting cannabis to adjacent states where the product is also legal has had its first public hearing.

Posted: Feb 7, 2019 3:42 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 5:18 PM

By ANDREW SELSKY , Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bill that would create the possibility of Oregon exporting marijuana to adjacent states where cannabis is also legal had its first public hearing Thursday, where advocates said it would give Oregon a way to relieve its oversupply and grow its brand.

Separately, the U.S. attorney for Oregon warned against it.

There is little expectation that Senate Bill 582 , if passed by the Legislature, would soon open marijuana commerce between Oregon and California, Nevada and Washington, the three states contiguous to Oregon where it is legal.

But some advocates see it as a way to start laying groundwork for when the federal government either decriminalizes marijuana or decides not to prosecute if pot-legal states export to each other.

One advocate suggested going even further, since several countries, including Canada and Uruguay, have legalized marijuana.

"I would like to see an amendment that would allow international agreements in this bill, if federal law allows, so Oregon can cash in immediately without having to wait for the next legislative session," Sarah Duff, spokeswoman for several pro-marijuana groups, said in testimony to the Senate judiciary committee.

U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams told The Associated Press on Thursday that the bill does not change the fact that transporting marijuana across state lines is a federal crime.

"This bill is an attempt to remedy the rampant overproduction and trafficking of marijuana outside of Oregon," Williams said in an emailed statement. He complained about the negative impacts of the marijuana industry on public health, minors and the environment.

But Steve Marks, director of Oregon's recreational marijuana regulatory agency, said Oregon farmers have produced "copious amounts of cannabis" for generations and that the illegal export of pot has been taking place "for decades."

"Oregon is not creating a new industry, it is converting an illegal cannabis production economy, and a loosely-regulated medical program, into a well-regulated legal market," Marks wrote in a Jan. 31 letter to stakeholders.

Marks, the director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, said the state is "at a crossroads where our state's history with marijuana and the future of cannabis commercialization meet."

Rep. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton, a co-sponsor of the export bill, said experts believe legalization of marijuana could come fairly soon, and that his measure anticipates that.

"It puts Oregon in the status of being ready to trade in this legal product," Helm told the judiciary committee.

Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday she also sees the bill as a way to position Oregon for that possible future period of legalized weed.

"I think folks are trying to make sure that Oregon is well placed in terms of the industry if and when — I would say when — the federal government moves forward," Brown said. She told reporters the first priority should be making sure the marijuana industry has access to the federal banking system.

Growers harvested more than 2.5 million pounds (1.1 million kilograms) of cannabis in October. Prices for marijuana in Oregon have dropped by half since December 2016, a symptom of the oversupply in inventories in the legal, regulated system.

Amid a backlog of thousands of applications for marijuana producers, processors and retailers, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in June paused processing of recreational marijuana licenses. Already there are 2,100 licensees.

Another bill, printed by order of Brown, would authorize the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to refuse to issue marijuana production licenses based on market demand and other relevant factors.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30995

Reported Deaths: 529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah6853133
Marion446690
Washington431558
Umatilla291641
Clackamas227361
Malheur153923
Jackson10574
Lane99115
Deschutes77712
Yamhill73814
Jefferson5138
Polk50315
Morrow4906
Lincoln47313
Linn46813
Union4352
Benton2806
Klamath2752
Hood River2450
Wasco2443
Douglas2113
Josephine1862
Columbia1531
Coos1420
Clatsop1210
Baker902
Crook601
Tillamook490
Curry300
Lake280
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Gilliam80
Grant80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 790096

Reported Deaths: 15056
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2614466366
Riverside574191162
San Bernardino52649908
Orange522011128
San Diego44925760
Kern31509354
Fresno27769355
Sacramento21628383
Alameda20641374
Santa Clara20511297
San Joaquin19841415
Stanislaus16351337
Contra Costa15958201
Tulare15599256
Ventura12406143
Imperial11583314
San Francisco1080799
San Mateo9598143
Monterey955067
Santa Barbara8880110
Merced8750134
Kings743077
Sonoma7112114
Marin6591112
Solano617555
Madera439162
Placer348841
San Luis Obispo339327
Butte276435
Yolo275454
Santa Cruz22188
Sutter164210
Napa162613
San Benito131011
Yuba11187
El Dorado10734
Mendocino85118
Lassen7350
Shasta70914
Glenn5503
Nevada5116
Colusa5106
Tehama5094
Lake49210
Humboldt4856
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc240
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 62°
Brookings
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 58°
Crater Lake
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 44°
Grants Pass
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 57°
Klamath Falls
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
Seasonal and smoky start to fall tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events