Oregon's state capitol building, pictured on a sunny winter day.

Jessica Paterson

Oregon Legislature Considers Major Cannabis Changes

On Monday, Oregon state lawmakers voted on some potentially serious changes to current marijuana laws.

The 35-day session of the Oregon legislature began February 1st, and has been packed with legislation to raise the minimum wage, overhaul medical and recreational marijuana, and attempt to solve the housing crisis. But Republicans have employed a rarely-used procedural move that forces fellow lawmakers to read every single bill in its entirety, out loud — delaying votes on important legislation.

One of the first marijuana bills on the docket on Monday, HB 4014, removes the two-year residency requirement on out-of-state investors wanting to get a piece of Oregon’s legalization pie. The bill’s other provisions give veterans a significant discount on registration fees for obtaining a medical marijuana card, and provides other medical benefits.

The 51-page bill was read out loud the legislature, taking hours, and stranding many lawmakers who were supposed to be meeting on other committees to debate renter relief legislation.

After the read-aloud session was finally over, the bill passed 48-11.

Additional measures that were supposed to be addressed on Monday: HB 4094, which would relieve banks from criminal liability for doing business with the cannabis industry, and is expected to open up banking for the currently cash-only marijuana business in the state; and SB 1511, which would allow tax-free sales of medical marijuana to card-holding patients.

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