The Oregon Liquor Control Board is headed for Newport next week to wrap up its lengthy “listening sessions” held across the state on how the citizens of Oregon want recreational marijuana handled and sold starting in late 2016. That’s right, at the end of NEXT year. OLCC officials say it’ll take them that long to get their minds wrapped around the best way to offer marijuana just like they offer beer, booze and wine. Many ask, who cares? It’s legal, put it in liquor stores if you want.
But it’s not working out to be that easy. Marijuana is coming off over 100 years of social demonization. It also comes with heavy emotional baggage. Hence the extended period from November of 2014 when it passed until it finally becomes available in retail stores – TWO YEARS LATER.
But in the meantime, starting July 1st, anyone over 21 will be allowed to possess one ounce of marijuana on their person and consume it in their home – 8 ounces of pot at home and to possess up to four plants growing under their control at their home.
OLCC Chair Rob Patridge and his “listening facilitators” will hold a lively and very interactive session next week with Newport area residents who want to become involved in how marijuana is “eased” into contemporary Oregon society. The listening session is set for Thursday, March 11, at the Hallmark Resort on Elizabeth Street. It starts at 7pm and runs until 9.
When you walk in you’ll be given a handful of red dots and directed to “issue posters,” listing a lot of statements about how to properly grow, handle, distribute, tax and sell recreational marijuana. For about the first 20 to 30 minutes, people will be milling about, putting their red dots on the posters and then there will be a very lively discussion among a lot of folks on stuff you already knew about marijuana, but also a lot of aspects that you never thought of. It’s a very worthwhile exercise.
Below is a news story about such an OLCC marijuana listening exercise held in Bend recently. It’ll give you more of feel of what you’re in for. It’s truly worth going to – not only for the fact that your opinion will affect the way marijuana enters mainstream Oregon, but also witnessing the actual changes that come about when “the past collides with the present” in the same room among a lot of people. We found it fascinating.
Here’s a story we ran at the Bend meeting: Click here.