Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oregon responds to Sessions’ threat by creating a bill to protect marijuana customers

Jeff Sessions
With new Attorney General Jeff Sessions trying to strum up the old-timey, racist, and not true idea that violence surrounding marijuana use has risen over the past decades, the states that allow legal recreational marijuana use have begun to make sure their citizens’ privacy is being protected. Alaska and Colorado already have laws that do not allow for marijuana retail stores to maintain a digital “paper trail” of customers’ private and personal information.
Oregon state lawmakers who fear heightened marijuana enforcement by federal agents overwhelmingly approved Monday a proposal to protect pot users from having their identities or cannabis-buying habits from being divulged by the shops that make buying pre-rolled joints and "magic" brownies as easy as grabbing a bottle of whiskey from the liquor store.
The measure passed easily and now waits for Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s signature. This bill has bipartisan support which is a strange thing to write into a sentence these days.
"Given the immediate privacy issues ... this is a good bill protecting the privacy of Oregonians choosing to purchase marijuana," state Rep. Carl Wilson, a Republican who helped sponsor the bill, said before the final vote.
Upon the bill's signing into law, Oregon pot retailers would have 30 days to destroy their customers' data from their databases and would be banned from such record-keeping in the future. Recreational pot buyers could still choose, however, to sign up for dispensary email lists to get promotional coupons or birthday discounts. The bill's provisions do not apply to medical marijuana patients.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer have also introduced state legislation that packages legalized marijuana with small business growth but is also set to protect Oregonians from archaic Federal laws. Called the “Path to Marijuana Reform,” the legislation includes three bills
The Small Business Tax Equity Act "would treat state-legal marijuana businesses like other small businesses," meaning they would be taxed like other small businesses.
The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act would remove "federal criminal penalties and civil asset forfeiture for individuals and businesses complying with state law," and allow access to "banking, bankruptcy protection, marijuana research and advertising" for cannabis businesses.
That last bill includes protections for Indigenous Tribes from the Federal government and opens up legal access to veterans needing medical marijuana. The third part of the legislation sets up a sales tax on marijuana similar to alcohol and tobacco.

Oregon created this issue itself by not following the best practices set forth by Washington and Colorado. The good news is that they are fixing their mistake it seems.

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