Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jan 2016
Source: Portland Mercury (OR)
Column: Cannabuzz: The Week in Cannabis
Copyright: 2016 The Portland Mercury
Author: Josh Jardine


IT'S 2016, and things are about to start getting REALLY good for 
cannabis enthusiasts. Sure, as of last October, those 21 and older 
could walk into an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program dispensary and 
purchase up to a quarter ounce of flower, seeds, or clones. And last 
year we held events where we could stand outside (or under a tent) 
and enjoy some twisted-up goodness. And right on to that.

Dispensaries that sell the full range of recreational adult-use 
cannabis products (concentrates, topicals, edibles, etc.) will be 
opening any day now, and parties are about to start going off where 
you can smoke indoors to your heart's content. What a great time to be alive!

Sorry to be Darryl Downer, but it's worth a closer look at when and 
how some of these things may come to pass-or possibly not.

When I have questions about what is up in the canna-universe, I call 
lawyer Amy Margolis. She heads up the Emerge Law Group (which 
arguably just helped complete more license applications for 
recreational cannabis than any other firm), and the Oregon Cannabis 
Association. She kindly answered my questions as she traveled down to 
Salem to live the dream: attending meetings in our state's capital.

MERCURY: Earlier this month, I went to a dispensary to pick up my 
quarter ounce of flower, and the price jumped from $70 to $87.50! WTF 
is going on?

AMY MARGOLIS: As part of the agreement last session around early 
sales of flower to the adult-use market, the Oregon Legislature 
instituted a 25 percent point-of-sale tax. That tax just applies to 
non-medical patients, however, and dispensaries are dealing with this 
in a variety of different ways. Some are offering discounts or 
absorbing part of the tax. Remember the tax will go down between five 
and eight percent once the OLCC [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] 
begins licensing dispensaries. Think of this as a kind of temporarily 
inflated tax until the end of 2016.

When are the recreational dispensaries opening?

The OLCC has said that they will start the licensing process for 
retailers in the third quarter of this year, and allow them to open 
sometime in the fourth quarter. By the time OLCC gets to retailers, 
they will be pros at this and I am expecting it to run smoothly.

So I have to wait 'til then to grab some canna lube, vape pen 
cartridges, cookies, and edibles?

There is a legislative concept for short session that would allow 
early sales of these types of products. We'll be pushing hard for 
this on behalf of the Oregon Cannabis Association. It's important for 
this to pass because the industry needs it, the consumers want it, 
and we now have the public safety regulations in place to protect everyone.

I keep hearing that the state has now banned all indoor consumption 
of cannabis, be it smoked or vaped. Am I going to get busted for 
smoking in my home? Isn't there some sort of private club, like cigar 
lovers have?

During the 2015 legislative session, the Indoor Clean Air Act was 
expanded to include cannabinoids. And the Indoor Clean Air Act 
interacts closely with Smokefree Workplace. Because of the expansion 
of the Indoor Clean Air Act, it is unlawful to operate a cannabis 
club. The Oregon Cannabis Association recognizes that people need a 
place to consume-imagine if you could only drink your evening 
appletini in your hall closet-and that the absence of a place to 
consume hurts patients and tourism, and drives people back 
underground. We're hoping that as we move toward the 2017 legislative 
session we can work on coming up with a reasonable solution. This is 
a complicated issue and requires input from all stakeholders to come 
up with an appropriate statutory modification.

So, what now? To quote the late, great James Brown, "Get involved, 
get into it." Next week, I'll explore how to effectively lobby our 
elected representatives on these and other canna measures. Which 
sounds boring as fuck, I KNOW. But now is the time to make your voice 
heard, and help create changes that benefit all enjoyers of cannabis. 
So grit your teeth and load your bong, because when the legislature 
meets next month, we speak up.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom