Medical Marijuana In Oregon: Pot Growers Form Political Action Committee

(Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian) View/Post Comments A group of Oregon medical marijuana growers last month formed a political action committee and plan to lobby for regulation and legal protections in the 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature.

The Oregon Cannabis Growers PAC registered in March with the Oregon Secretary of State. The group, which represents about 20 marijuana growers, has hired a lobbyist, Geoff Sugerman, who helped draft House Bill 3460, the state’s medical marijuana registry law. Establishing a political action committee is another sign of just how far the Oregon medical marijuana program has evolved. The original law, approved by voters in 1998, envisioned a system where patients link up with growers who produce cannabis for them. In exchange, growers are reimbursed for the basic costs of growing marijuana. Now that the Oregon Legislature has sanctioned retail medical marijuana sales, cannabis growers are stepping out of the shadows to lobby for their own set of regulation and protection from law enforcement, said Amy Margolis, a Portland criminal defense lawyer who advises medical marijuana businesses and growers.

If you want a safe well-regulated, responsible system, you need to have a licensing process, she said. You need to have a compliance process. There are a lot of growers who are ready for that to happen. She said the group represents growers in Willamette Valley and in northern Oregon; she said the committee plans to reach out to growers in southern Oregon, who tend to focus on outdoor growing. Meghan Walstatter, who with her husband owns Pure Green, a Northeast Portland medical marijuana dispensary , said growers are ready for state oversight. Walstatter grows medical marijuana and is a member of the political action committee.

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