Make your voice heard to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization by emailing: jmr.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.

Public Testimony Regarding Oregon Senate Bill 307

Madame Co-chairs and members of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization:

Thank you all for helping implement regulated cannabis commerce in Oregon. With the creation of thousands of new jobs and the generation of millions of dollars in new revenue, we have created a regulated system that Oregonians can be proud of and is in line with the Measure 91 campaign supported by 56% of voters. While there is still work to be done, particularly in ensuring safe access to low-income patients and providing economic opportunities to small farmers and businesses across the entire state, legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana is working in Oregon.

Licensing regulated establishments, where responsible adults can legally and safely use cannabis with other responsible adults, in localities that have approved of the licensed activity, is another sensible common sense step in the right direction. We urge you to pass Senate Bill 307, a pragmatic proposal that will create jobs, generate revenue and benefit our economy. If passed, SB 307 should also reduce the number of people smoking marijuana in public view as well.

In addition to the economic benefit of more licensed marijuana business activity, there are compassionate reasons to support licensed cannabis consumption establishments as well. Many low-income patients struggling through poverty and severe and debilitating medical conditions live in housing that prohibits cannabis use inside. The allowance of OLCC-regulated cannabis consumption establishments will benefit patients that are forced to either stop using their medicine or to violate the law by smoking in public.

Senate Bill 307, by requiring local approval first, is a limited and rather conservative measure that provides for extreme local control. New Approach Oregon also supports Senate Bill 788, a broader measure that allows localities to opt-out of social consumption licenses, giving localities the ability to implement the proper policies for their communities. Unfortunately, SB 788 hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing yet, but if considered, the proposal is also a positive bill.

Thank you so much for considering the ability of cities and counties to allow the licensed and regulated social consumption of cannabis. I look forward to discussing this issue, and other marijuana policy proposals, with you further.

Respectfully,

Anthony Johnson

Director, New Approach Oregon

Public Testimony Regarding Senate Bill 302

Madame Co-chairs and members of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization:

Thank you for helping usher in an era of smart-on-crime policies that have benefited your constituents and our entire state. Great work has already been done to remove harmful criminal penalties that have disproportionately hurt people of color and citizens battling through poverty.

Whether you have the goal of making Oregon a model for the rest of the country or not, we are. The expungement provision passed by the Oregon Legislature set the table for California to enact a similar provision last November and was the inspiration for a proposed federal bill. We can expect more states to follow Oregon’s lead in both legalizing cannabis and retroactively allowing the expungement of old marijuana offenses in the coming years, greatly benefitting many people’s lives. We hope that you are as proud of this important work as we are.

Senate Bill 302 has some good provisions that continue Oregon’s trend of being smart-on-crime, mainly removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances. This is a policy that is long overdue and will hopefully be copied by other states, and eventually, the federal government. Once again, Oregon is helping lead the way.

However SB 302 provides for some unnecessary criminal penalties that New Approach Oregon opposes. We have moved forward positively on cannabis laws and there is no reason to move back towards more harmful felonies. Oregonians voted to regulate marijuana like alcohol and alcohol offenses do not include a wide array of felonies.

Marijuana felonies that can include prison time and have to be worn like a scarlet letter, depriving nonviolent people of many employment and housing opportunities, are not beneficial to our society. If marijuana offenders can’t get a job they will only be pushed deeper into criminal behavior and everyday Oregonians will foot the bill and suffer the consequences.

While there could potentially be a middle ground on punishing repeat offenders, Class A misdemeanors are adequate when minors and public safety aren’t involved. On that end, we don’t oppose felonizing the sale of marijuana to minors under the age of 18 and the felony crime of arson that occurs from unlicensed extraction explosions.

Senate Bill 302 has the potential to continue our movement in the right direction on cannabis polices. We urge you to remove unnecessary penalties from the bill and thank you for the opportunity to discuss the issue with you further.

Respectfully,

Anthony Johnson

Director, New Approach Oregon


What’s Next

As the Oregon Legislature and Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) implements Measure 91, New Approach Oregon has been monitoring the process and working to protect what Oregonian’s voted for. Learn More