Pubdate: Thu, 14 May 2015
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2015 The Oregonian
Author: Jeff Mapes


Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, moving to end a legislative 
impasse over a sweeping medical marijuana measure, on Wednesday 
created a special Senate committee to deal with the issue.

The new committee is charged with moving a measure through the Senate 
that is aimed at cracking down on black-market diversions by medical 
marijuana growers. The House-Senate committee on implementing the 
marijuana legalization initiative approved by voters has been 
deadlocked over the issue of how much power to give cities and 
counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries and processors in their areas.

Sen. Ginny Burdick, who co-chairs the House-Senate panel and will 
chair the new Senate committee, said she thinks she can win a strong 
bipartisan majority on the Senate floor -- which she said could help 
sway the House.

Burdick, D-Portland, and other Senate members of the marijuana 
committee support allowing city and county governments to bar medical 
marijuana facilities. Citizens could challenge it by collecting 4 
percent of the vote in the last governor's race in their localities 
allowing them to place the issue on the ballot.

In contrast, a majority of the House members on the marijuana 
committee say they want any local ban to automatically go to a vote 
of the people. They say they want to ensure that medical marijuana 
patients don't lose access to the drug.

Burdick said she is trying to schedule a meeting of the new Senate 
committee on Monday. She said senators plan to amend Senate Bill 964 
with their language on medical marijuana.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom