Combine recreational and medical marijuana programs: Editorial –

As soon as recreational marijuana becomes legally available for retail sale, in 2016, the need for an independent medical marijuana market goes away.

As Oregon regulators and lawmakers undertake the creation of a market and regulatory apparatus for the legal and safe sale of recreational marijuana, the simple question arises: Should recreational pot be kept separate from medical marijuana? Or should both markets be melded into one and, with a regulatory system tailored to both, pot sold from the same place, creating one-stop shopping for what amounts to the same desired product?
Medical marijuana is increasingly rated and purchased according to potency, variety and reported pharmacologic properties. But so, too, will recreational marijuana as the market develops and consumers exert ever-finer preferences. It makes sense to combine both markets and to bring adequate regulation from grow site to sales counter. To do so would be efficient, avoiding expensive duplication in legal sales settings and complication in tracking potentially more than one supply chain. In narrowing law enforcement efforts associated with the storefront sale of pot to both customer streams, meanwhile, costs otherwise shouldered by taxpayers could be kept in line and advance one of Measure 91’s goals: marijuana priced at a retail level that would undercut black market sales.
Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, threw out a not-so-wild notion in a recent interview with The Oregonian’s editorial board: Most Oregon voters who said yes to Measure 91 were simply saying yes to the idea of legal marijuana but had not studied the many provisions within the measure’s more than 30 well-crafted pages. Insofar as she’s correct, and there is no reason to believe that Measure 91’s passage represents a full endorsement of each of its stipulations, she takes the position that the Legislature should view the measure as “a pretty good draft” of just another bill open to adjustment by vote of Oregon’s lawmakers. Significantly, Measure 91 is designed to have no impact on the medical marijuana system.

Oregonian editorials

Editorials reflect the collective opinion of The Oregonian editorial board, which operates independently of the newsroom.

If you have questions aboutthe opinion section,contact Erik Lukens,editorial and commentary editor,at [email protected] or 503-221-8142.

But Burdick joins lawyer and Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, in heading a joint committee that will coordinate with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in implementing Measure 91, and Burdick’s instinct on the Legislature’s role is correct: …Read More