The Oregon House is expected to vote Tuesday on Senate Bill 582, which would create a framework for the interstate shipment and regulation of cannabis.
Currently, although recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states (Illinois just became the 11th), it is still illegal under federal law. That means that although Oregon is awash in legally-grown cannabis, it is against the law to ship the surplus to other states, even those such as California and Washington where cannabis is also legal.
As the tide of legalization works its way across the country, many policymakers think federal legalization is inevitable and Oregon lawmakers, led by state Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) and state Rep. Ken Helm (D-Beaverton) want the state to be ready when the feds make that change.
The law would allow Gov. Kate Brown or her successor to enter into agreements with other states that would establish standards for packaging and testing and enforcement of state laws. The law would only go into effect, however, once federal officials announce they are relaxing their prohibition.
The bill passed out of the more conservative Senate on a bi-partisan 18 to 9 vote and sailed out of the House Rules Committee last week.
Among those testifying in favor of the bill was Brandon Goldner, the supervisor of the City of Portland's cannabis program.
"[SB 582] allows Oregon to prepare for a future where Oregon's high-quality cannabis can be shared with the rest of the country, much like our craft wine and beer industry," Goldner said in written testimony. "And as regulators and policymakers, we need to do everything we can to make that transition as smooth as possible. This bill is a step in that direction."