Legal battles continue in the state of Oregon over control over medical marijuana regulation. The Oregon state Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing in February about a proposal for medical marijuana regulation. The proposal sought to give local authorities the ability to regulate the new marijuana industry.
Senate Judiciary Committee Proposal
The Association of Oregon Counties and League of Oregon Cities supported the proposal. The changes would include the limitation of products that may be attractive to kids as well as forbidding a dispensary being within 1,000 feet of a school. The proposal intends to give local governments the ability to regulate the marijuana industry. Oregon’s current legislation has little regulation for the industry.
Other supporters of the proposal include the Associations of Chiefs of Police, the Oregon Farm Bureau, Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Forests Industries Council, the Oregon District Attorneys Association, and the Oregon Association of Realtor.
Oregon began registering medical marijuana facilities March 1st, 2013.
Local vs. State Regulation
The underlying struggle for regulation is between local government entities and the state government. Local organizations hesitate to trust the brand new marijuana industry to regulate itself. The new industry features little standards for appropriate business practices. The lack of regulation from the state level creates unease for those who didn’t support marijuana legalization. Misgivings are still high about this new industry.
Proponents for state regulation argue that local governments shouldn’t restrict patients from accessing their medication. State-wide regulation would mean Oregon residents would have uniform access to medical marijuana regardless of where they live.
Impact on Dispensaries
The regulation of marijuana laws can have a profound impact on marijuana dispensary businesses. If a business is registering as a marijuana dispensary local regulation could break the business. A business could have to navigate a city’s regulation, the county’s regulation, state guidelines, and federal guidelines.
The layered system of regulation could cost a marijuana dispensary time, resources, and money–all commodities a small business can rarely afford. As Oregon and other states begin moving towards legalized marijuana dispensaries, medical or otherwise, dispensary owners will need to keep a keen eye on regulation legal battles.