Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 2015
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2015 The Oregonian
Author: Andrew Theen


Hours before marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, U.S. Rep. Earl 
Blumenauer said the state's rollout will "loom large" as other states 
and the federal government consider marijuana-related legislation.

"Oregon can be a textbook example of how to do it right," Blumenauer 
said Tuesday afternoon at a press conference at the American Civil 
Liberties Union's Portland headquarters. The congressman, a longtime 
proponent of legal marijuana, called Oregon's law the best in the nation.

Oregon's law takes effect at midnight. State legislators Tuesday 
advanced three bills to shape the law, including setting a sales tax 
and allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to recreational 
customers starting in October, before a state retail system is in place.

Blumenauer said he's seeing lots of momentum in Congress, including 
more than a dozen pieces of bipartisan legislation, to "further 
modernize marijuana laws."

He said he's optimistic that Congress will pass laws granting 
marijuana businesses the right to open bank accounts, calling the 
status quo "insane" and "lunacy."

Blumenauer said "forcing a business to be conducted on an all-cash 
basis is an invitation for" money laundering. He said he also expects 
support for legislation allowing marijuana business owners to file 
deductions on their taxes.

"These are two things that people I think can get behind regardless 
what they feel about marijuana. This is just common sense."

Blumenauer and supporters of Oregon's Measure 91, the voter-passed 
initiative legalizing the drug, said they will monitor the system to 
make sure police and the criminal justice system aren't unfairly 
targeting minorities.

Anthony Johnson, Measure 91's chief petitioner, said work remains: 
"There's still people in prison, there's still disparity in how the 
law is carried out, and there's still improvements to be done."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom