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Entries in Oregon Liquor Control Commission (2)

Monday
Nov242014

The Process of Regulating Pot

With voter approval of marijuana use comes the challenge of regulating it. Liquor regulation provides important precedents, but may not go far enough.

There will be similarities in regulating where marijuana can be sold, requiring accurate labels and preventing sales to minors.

But marijuana poses other challenges that have been highlighted by people knee-deep in developing original regulation in Colorado and elsewhere. For example, the amount of alcohol and its effect on individual adults can be roughly calculated arithmetically. That may be less true of the potency of different types of marijuana.

Marijuana edibles represent a significant challenge. Candy is sold with small amounts of liquor, but they convey far less of a potential jolt than a marijuana cookie, which is designed to transport the buzz offered by marijuana.

Another unique challenge is how to integrate the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana with recreational marijuana .

Rachel O'Bryan, cofounder of Smart Colorado, a nonprofit formed to weigh in on marijuana regulation, wrote in an op-ed in The Sunday Oregonian that someone who represents public health concerns, especially for youth, must be at the table writing rules for Oregon.

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Friday
Nov112011

Privatizing Liquor Sales – Is Oregon Next?

Expect politicking to begin in Oregon following Washington voter approval Tuesday of a Costco-bankrolled ballot measure to privatize state-run liquor stores and allow consumers to buy booze in grocery outlets.

Oregon has a similar liquor monopoly that purchases, distributes and sells distilled spirits. Despite grumbling and enterprising residents who pick up a trunk load of their favorite liquors in California or Nevada, there hasn't been much effort to remove the state monopoly. With the victory in Washington, don't be surprised to see that grumbling bubble to the surface in either significant legislation or a like-kind ballot measure.

Costco, which is based in Issaquah, Washington, dropped the lion's share of the $23 million contributed to pass Initiative 1183. It hasn't given any indication it will look to Oregon next, but most observers think it is logical to assume it would so it can consolidate purchasing for all of its West Coast outlets.

Joe Giliam, president of the Northwest Grocery Association, attributed the success of the initiative to convenience. "The voters would really like to have this convenience," Gilliam said.

Convenience is the reason why the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has experimented with placing state-run liquor stores inside grocery stores. OLCC has expressed interest in broadening the experiment, and the Washington vote on I-1183 probably provides additional impetus.

Passage of the Washington ballot measure may not be the last word. Washington operates 328 liquor outlets, about half run by state employees and the rest through contractors. State officials must close 164 state-owned stores and lay off more than 900 employees, who are members of a union. The 159 stores managed by private contractors may compete for licenses to continue to operate.

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