Measure 91

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Oregon: Marijuana Business Bans Could Cost Counties Millions Of Dollars

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

County bans on licensed recreational marijuana businesses in Oregon could result in millions of dollars of lost economic activity, according to a new report.

Marion County alone could lose $110 million in economic activity in 2016 as business goes elsewhere because of its nonsensical ban, said Beau Whitney, an economist and vice president of government and compliance at Toronto-based Golden Leaf Holdings, reports Gordon Friedman at the Statesman Journal.

Nineteen Oregon counties and 86 Oregon cities have banned marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers entirely.

Oregon citizens voted at the ballot box to legalize marijuana via Measure 91 in 2014. State legislators allowed local municipalities to ban cannabis businesses if their voters opposed legalization.

In counties with less than 55 percent rejecting legal sales -- like Marion County -- the bans are only temporary and must be put to the voters. In counties which rejected legalization by more than 55 percent, local governments can ban cannabis businesses outright.

Oregon: Pro-Cannabis Group Endorses Ted Wheeler For Portland Mayor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Approach Oregon, the pro-marijuana group which was behind the successful Measure 91 legalization campaign, on Tuesday endorsed candidate Ted Wheeler for mayor of Portland.

"I want to strongly urge you to consider casting your vote for Ted Wheeler, an ally of the marijuana law reform movement and someone who understands the importance of the cannabis industry and implementing the will of the voters," reads a letter from New Approach Oregon's Chief Petitioner, Anthony Johnson.

"When the Oregon Financial Estimate Committee met to determine the amount of revenue Measure 91 would generate for the state, our campaign became very concerned when the state's Legislative Revenue Office projected that legalizing marijuana would only bring in about $17 million in new revenue to the state," Johnson's letter reads. "One elected official on the committee cooly and calmly considered all of the evidence and wisely advocated that the state project a range of revenue. That official was Ted Wheeler, at the time serving on the committee as our state's treasurer.

"Ted advocated for a range of $17 million to $40 million," Johnson said. "And as we just saw the state collect about $7 million in the first two months of taxes, the upper end of the range is looking like a pretty good call.

Oregon: Measure 91 Advocates Endorse Brad Avakian for Secretary of State

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization advocates New Approach Oregon, the organization behind the successful Measure 91, on Wednesday endorsed Democratic candidate Brad Avakian for Secretary of State. Avakian currently serves as Oregon Labor Commissioner.

"Supporters of Measure 91, we have an exciting Secretary of State's race that involves three qualified Democratic candidates. I want to introduce you to one of those candidates, Brad Avakian, an ally of the marijuana law reform movement for more than a decade when he, as Labor Commissioner, fought for a medical marijuana patient who was fired for using cannabis medicinally," New Approach Oregon's Anthony Johnson wrote in a March 30 email. "Unfortunately, the Supreme Court rejected that argument and the fight for true equality and freedom goes on, even after legalizing and regulating marijuana.

"Brad Avakian is the progressive in the race for Secretary of State, and you can see that in the endorsements that he has received, including some of the same endorsers who advocated for Measure 91, such as the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555 Union and the Working Families Party," Johnson wrote. "If we can elect Brad Avakian as our next Secretary of State we will have a true supporter of sensible marijuana policies in the 2nd most prominent governmental position in Oregon.

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Patients Want Deadline Extension On New Rules

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday morning held a public hearing to hear testimony from patients and growers who want an extension on the deadline for new rules.

The rules, listed in a 100-page document, range from things like security requirements to plant growth requirements, reports Justin Matthews at News 10.

The changes are scheduled to take effect on March 1, but medicinal cannabis patients, growers and caretakers said that's not enough time to make changes in order to complyl.

"O.H.A. was given the guidelines by the Measure 91 committee to implement some new rules around medical marijuana and they have gone above and beyond with new restrictive regulations that are going to kill the program and affect thousands of sick Oregonians," said Brent Kenyon, director of Southern Oregon Alternative Medicine.

While many of the rules are realistic, requiring that they be put into effect by March 1 is not, according to Kenyon.

A number of those testifying asked OHA to extend the deadline to January 1, 2017.

Photo: News 10

Oregon: Congressman Earl Blumenauer Calls For End To Failed Marijuana Prohibition

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As Oregon’s Emerging Marijuana Industry Visits Capitol Hill, Rep. Blumenauer Calls for Federal Government to Get Out of the Way

As representatives from the Oregon Cannabis Association visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) on the House floor called for an end to the federal government’s failed approach of marijuana prohibition.

“Mr. Speaker, advocates from the new emerging marijuana industry in Oregon are descending on Capitol Hill at a very critical time for this fledgling industry," Congressman Blumenauer said. "They have a report about the implementation of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91, overwhelming approved by voters last year to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana at the state level.

“Possession became legal July 1st," Blumenauer said. "Retail sales were authorized in existing dispensaries on the 1st of October to significant interest around the state. The first week saw an estimated $11 million in sales. They are working hard to implement the spirit and the letter of the measure, working closely with the Oregon legislature to refine it – learning from the experiences of states like Washington and Colorado that have already legalized adult use.

“Theirs is a positive story of economic opportunity, product development, tax revenues, more freedom for individuals, and eliminating the racial disparities in the enforcement of a failed policy of prohibition that comes down heavily against young men of color – especially African Americans," Rep. Blumenauer said.

Oregon: Legal Marijuana Sales Begin Thursday, Oct. 1

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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Given Head Start Before Other Stores

Oregon Becomes First State to Expunge Prior Nonviolent Marijuana Records

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2014 with Measure 91, is beginning sales Thursday, October 1. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be permitted to get a head start on sales before other, non-medical stores, which are expected to open in Autumn 2016.

This will ensure existing medical marijuana retailers have an opportunity to fairly compete in the new market as it emerges in the next several years. About 200 of the 345 medical shops have registered to expand their sales to all adults and expect a significant increase in profit margins.

Oregon voters passed Measure 91 in November 2014 with 56 percent support. Similar to initiatives in both Washington and Colorado, Measure 91 called for a slow and thoughtful roll-out of legalization.

In Washington and Colorado, possession of marijuana became legal over a year before retail sales began. This approach left adults with no lawful means of purchasing marijuana. This, too, was the path in Oregon until lawmakers passed new legislation this summer.

Possession became legal on July 1, 2015, yet the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the state agency responsible for taxing, licensing, and regulating commercial recreational marijuana, will not begin accepting applications until early next year and retail stores are not expected to open until late 2016.

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Gear Up For Oct. 1 Recreational Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon are preparing for a big moment this week: when recreational cannabis users will be able to come into their shops, and, for the first time, buy weed, no medical authorization required.

Of Oregon's 345 registered medical marijuana dispensaries, more than 200 have notified the Oregon Health Authority they'll start selling recreational marijuana on Thursday, October 1, reports Gosia Wozniacka at the Associated Press. Some of these dispensaries may not qualify right away if they're still in the application process and haven't been approved, according to Jonathan Modie, a spokesman for the OHA.

Oregon voters approved Measure 91 last November. The new law legalized possessiong and growing limited amounts of cannabis for personal use starting July 1. Since Oregon won't be ready to begin regulated recreational sales until next year, medical dispensaries are being allowed to conduct early sales of recreational cannabis, tax-free, as a temporary stop-gap and to curb black market sales.

Taxes on recreational marijuana sales won't begin until January 4, 2016, when a 25 percent tax on retail sales will be added.

Adults 21 and older can buy a quarter ounce (7 grams) of marijuana flowers. Edibles, extracts, concentrates and infused products aren't available in early recreational sales. Customers must provide government-issued photo ID as proof of age.

Oregon: Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Law Including Sentencing Reform

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Oregon Rewrites Marijuana Criminal Code to Reduce Most Felonies to Misdemeanors and to Make Prior Convictions Eligible to be Cleared

Law Goes Beyond Other Legalization States to Reduce Harsh Marijuana Sentences and Allow for 78,319 Prior Marijuana Convictions to Potentially be Cleared

Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday signed H.B. 3400, an omnibus bill to implement Measure 91, the marijuana legalization initiative adopted by voters last November. The bill was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.

Measure 91 legalized possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulated commercial production, manufacturing, and retail sales of marijuana. Legalization for personal use took effect July 1, 2015.

As of that date adults 21 and older can legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside the home. They may also grow up to four plants at home, as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure for commercial retail sales will not be up and running until next year.

In addition to addressing the implementation of Measure 91, H.B. 3400 contains broad sentencing reform provisions that extend well beyond the elimination of criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and cultivation of up to four plants. The new law reduces most marijuana felonies to misdemeanors or lesser felonies with significantly reduced sentences.

Oregon: Advocates Say July 1 Marijuana Legalization Is Just The First Step

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Oct. 1 early start bill passes in Oregon Senate; Oregon police to stop arresting people for some marijuana crimes

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The day before adult use of marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, leaders of the state’s drug reform movement said they plan to expand their work to change how Oregon approaches drug policy.

“Thanks to Oregon voters, we have made history and become national leaders in drug reform,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of the Yes on 91 campaign to legalize marijuana. “But there’s still a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”

Johnson has been advocating for an earlier start to regulated sales for marijuana, and the Oregon Senate today passed a bill, 23-6, that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling marijuana to adults 21 and older on Oct. 1. Another bill that reduces marijuana-related criminal penalties is making its way to the governor’s desk.

Johnson said marijuana should no longer be classified as a drug as dangerous as heroin, that more money should be devoted to marijuana-related research, and that “we should focus more on helping people and less on incarcerating them.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a strong advocate for changes to federal drug laws and a leader of the Oregon campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, discussed his efforts to reform outdated marijuana policy at the federal level.

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect July 1

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Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately

Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon passed with 56 percent approval, takes effect July 1 and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants (as long as they are out of public view) and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will remain illegal.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.

Oregon: Possession, Home Cultivation of Marijuana Become Legal For Adults July 1

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Oregon to End Wasteful and Racially Disproportionate Marijuana Possession Arrests; State Expects Significant Fiscal Benefits

Beginning July 1, adults 21 and older in Oregon will be able to legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside their home. Adults may also grow up to four plants as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure allowing for commercial retail sales is still in the works and will not be implemented until next year.

Oregon voters passed Measure 91 last November with 56 percent support. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C. passed a more limited measure that legalized possession and home cultivation of marijuana but did not address its taxation and sale due to D.C. law.

Alaska’s law started to take effect earlier than Oregon’s, with Alaska officially ending the criminalization of marijuana possession and cultivation in February. Thus Oregon is now the 4th U.S. state to begin implementing its marijuana legalization law.

Oregon: Kickstarter Project Debuts To Fund Documentary On Marijuana Industry

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Studio McDermott, Portland-based film studio,on Thursday announced their Kickstarter project to assist in funding "Oregon: The State of Cannabis," an in-depth look at Oregon's burgeoning cannabis industry and the pioneers behind it.

Fueled by the successful passage of Oregon's Measure 91 in 2014, the filmmakers at Studio McDermott have already logged over 120 interviews with some of the most important players in the newly legal cannabis industry. Their hope is to preserve the history of the pioneers who are creating the legal cannabis industry.

"From the basement of an old school cultivators to the deep pockets of big business, a completely new market is emerging," said Max McDermott, cinematographer and editor at Studio McDermott. "When you witness the birth of an industry, you see how quickly things have to move in order to be successful."

"Cannabis legalization will impact all Oregonians," said Michael McDermott, the award-winning director of photography and co-founder of Studio McDermott. "Oregon: The State of Cannabis is capturing a moment in history that would otherwise be lost."

Having already poured hundreds of man-hours and resources into this passion project, the filmmakers at Studio McDermott are now looking to the public to help fund the remaining research and post-production expenses.

Oregon: House Approves Bill Setting Up Legal Marijuana Market

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon House lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill 52-4 setting up the state's legal marijuana market after voters approved legalization under Measure 91 last November. The bill, HB 3400, now heads to the Oregon Senate.

The bill creates regulations for both medical and recreational cannabis, including a compromise allowing local jurisdictions to "opt out" of legalization, reports Sheila Kumar at the Associated Press. Members of a House joint committee charged with implementing Measure 91 had previously been unable to agree on the issue of local control, stalling the measure for weeks.

Counties or cities that voted against Measure 91 can choose to ban cannabis sales if at least 55 percent of their residents opposed the ballot measure in last November's election. Other counties would have to put banning pot sales to a vote.

"I did not support Measure 91," said clueless Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer). "I am voting for this bill because it allows local jurisdictions to prohibit the sale of this drug."

The bill also creates a marijuana tracking system, so bureaucrats can trace weed from seed to sale in order to keep it out of the black market. The Oregon Health Authority would be in charge of creating and maintaining a database tracking the path of marijuana to market.

The bill requires grow sites to register and submit information on how much cannabis is processed and transferred every month.

Oregon: Politicians Poised To Dismantle Oregon's Medical Marijuana System - CALL TODAY

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Politicians in Salem are poised to pass a bill at 5 p.m. on Monday that would partially dismantle Oregon’s medical marijuana system and ban state-regulated marijuana businesses. The Senate Committee on Implementing Measure 91 is planning to slip this by quickly, without any public testimony.

Public testimony is crucial because politicians need to know why this bill is so bad for Oregon. New Approach Oregon is asking that you please take a moment right now to call a few state senators and tell them them the public should have the right to be heard before the medical marijuana system is drastically changed. Phone numbers are below.

"We voted to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana, NOT to have politicians push it into the criminal market and make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get life-saving medicine," said Measure 91 Chief Petitioner Anthony Johnson of New Approach Oregon.

Senate Committee on Implementing Measure 91:
Sen. Ginny Burdick (D): 503-986-1718
Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D): 503-986-1704
Sen. Jeff Kruse (R): 503-986-1701
Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R): 503-986-1950
Sen. Lee Beyer (D): 503-986-1706

Senate Democratic Leadership:
Senate President, Peter Courtney: 503-986-1600
Senate Majority Leader, Diane Rosenbaum: 503-986-1700
Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Arnie Roblan: 503-986-1705
Senate Majority Whip, Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward: 503-986-1717
Senate Majority Whip, Mark Haas: 503-986-1714
Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Michael Dembrow: 503-986-1723

Oregon: Call To Action - Medical Marijuana Is Being Undermined By SB 964

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In a scenario which is becoming sadly familiar, another state (hello, Washington!) is using the pretext of recreational marijuana legalization in an attempt to shut down medical marijuana facilities.

Some politicians in Salem want to undermine Oregon voters by making it easy to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, according to New Approach Oregon. If Senate Bill 964 passes, city councils and county commissions could arbitrarily shut down medical marijuana facilities — without a vote of the people.

"That’s not the policy Oregonians voted for when passing Measure 91 with more than 56 percent of the vote," reads an email from New Approach Oregon. "We promised to protect medical marijuana patients who depend on local dispensaries to get life-saving medicine."

But Senate Bill 964 would partially dismantle Oregon’s medical marijuana program. It would invite expensive lawsuits that could disrupt implementation of Measure 91. It would feed the criminal market.

SB 964 is sponsored by Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick and Republican Senator Jeff Kruse.

Both The Oregonian and the Register-Guard have published editorials calling for a public vote, as Measure 91 allows.

Call To Action

Please send emails to the Senate and House Democrats right now.

Oregon: Marijuana Campaign Hires Lobbyist To Pass Expungement Law

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“We are going to put our political muscle behind this to make sure it gets passed.”

New Approach Oregon has hired a lobbyist to help pass bills in the Oregon Legislature that would reduce marijuana offenders’ jail sentences and clear marijuana-related offenses from criminal records.

The group behind Oregon’s law to legalize marijuana is also teaming up with the Bus Project to organize volunteers, host phone banks and win endorsements for House Bill 3372 and Senate Bill 364. Both bills await hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 364 has already passed the Senate.

“We built a powerful organization to legalize marijuana,” said Anthony Johnson, executive director of New Approach Oregon, “and we plan to use it to make sure these bills are passed. Let’s stop ruining lives by treating marijuana as a crime and start saving money by getting people out of jail and giving them a fresh start.”

Click here to sign up to help the new #FreshStartOregon campaign

Oregon: County Considers Excluding Marijuana From Farm Zones

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One Oregon County is considering excluding marijuana from farm zones, leading to questions about how cannabis will be regulated under legalization and the state's land use system.

Since voters approved legalization under Measure 91 last November, Linn County officials have been bombarded with questions about where citizens can grow it, according to County Commissioner Roger Nyquist, reports Mateusz Perkowski at the Capital Press.

"We're even seeing real estate ads advertising properties as turnkey ready for marijuana production," Nyquist said.

County commissioners are considering limiting commercial marijuana production to light industrial and commercial zones, according to Nyquist, who said the commissioners were "concerned" about "problems resulting from growing marijuana outdoors near homes."

"There are security issues if you have millions of dollars worth of crop sitting next to families," he said.

But marijuana proponents see the proposal as a try to circumvent Measure 91. Using zoning rules to create a "functional ban" on marijuana dispensaries would be preempted by legalization, according to attorney Leland Berger, who advises cannabis businesses.

"I am starting to see municipalities who are bigoted against cannabis utilize land use and zoning laws to avoid state preemption," Berger said.

Oregon: Group Launches New Effort To Defend Marijuana Legalization

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The successful campaign to legalize marijuana in Oregon has launched a new effort to defend Oregon’s marijuana law from those who are trying to undermine the measure.

“We want a marijuana policy that reflects the will of the people,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91. “Instead of making major changes, the state first needs to get the basics of implementation right -- like childproofing, labeling, testing, packaging, auditing, inspecting, taxing, licensing and background checks.”

In places like Colorado, marijuana retail sales began before comprehensive rules for edibles and packaging were completed and in place, contributing to difficulties in implementing the new marijuana law.

“We don’t want to see that happen in Oregon,” said Leah Maurer, who led the Moms For Yes On 91 group.

New Approach Oregon announced it "will now work as the watchdog for the new marijuana law."

"From time to time, we will let you know what you can do to make sure we finish the job and get Measure 91 implemented effectively," the group announced in a prepared statement. "We will update you on what is happening with implementation and alert you about threats to Measure 91."

New Approach will host a 15-minute press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 5, at the ACLU of Oregon, 620 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.

Oregon: Gov. Kitzhaber Claims Home Marijuana Possession Limits Are Too High

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon voters -- a whopping 56 percent of them -- approved Measure 91, which legalized marijuana, up to half a pound of it at home. But now Gov. John Kitzhaber has apparently decided he knows better than voters, and on Tuesday he indicated me might ask the Legislature to set lower limits.

Kitzhaber claimed he had "many concerns" about the voter-approved initiative, questioning the logic of allowing adults to possess up to eight ounces of cannabis at home yet just one ounce in public, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian.

"The amount you can actually grow in a home-grow operation seems to me to exceed the amount that you're supposed to have legally," Kitzhaber said. "I don't know how you enforce that."

Kitzhaber did not say what kinds of possession limits he'd like to see.

Possession limits were deliberately set higher at home to allow adults to grow their own marijuana and make concentrates and edibles, according to backers of Measure 91.

"Just like home brewing of beer and the home making of wine, you need to have reasonable rules for personal cultivators and hobbyists who want to produce their own marijuana," said Anthony Johnson, chairman of New Approach Oregon, which sponsored the 2014 initiative.

Oregon: New Marijuana Policy Course Offered At Oregon State University

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By Michelle Klampe
Oregon State University

Students at Oregon State University will have a chance to help shape policies related to marijuana legalization in Oregon as part of a new public policy course taught this winter on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

“Marijuana Policy in the 21st Century” is a new sociology course developed by Seth Crawford, an instructor in the School of Public Policy in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. The course will examine some of the policy issues facing the state following the legalization of recreational marijuana by Oregon voters in November.

“We will be working with policymakers and stakeholders to help answer some of the biggest questions facing the state following the passage of Measure 91,” said Crawford, who is an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon.

Crawford also serves on the state’s Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana, which advises the director of the Oregon Department of Human Services on administrative aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program. He has provided expert testimony on marijuana-related policies in Oregon.

The new course will examine marijuana control strategies, methods for investigating marijuana markets and recent case studies in legalization.

The course will culminate in the presentation of an evidenced-based, student-directed paper on policy recommendations for the OLCC and the Oregon Health Authority, Crawford said. Policies established by the OLCC will determine how marijuana would be produced, sold and distributed in Oregon.

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