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New legislative panel to oversee marijuana ballot measure

Lawmakers will consider potential changes to voter-approved legalization for recreational use

A new Senate-House committee will consider whether to propose changes to the voter-approved ballot measure legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

The committee that will look at Measure 91 will be led by Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, and Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego. Burdick, at 18 years, is one of the Senate’s two senior members; Lininger, a former Clackamas County commissioner, is entering her first elected term after her appointment earlier this year.

Leaders and members were announced Thursday as part of a list of legislative committee appointments for the 2015 session, which opens Jan. 12.

Among questions the committee may take up are local taxation on retail sales, in addition to the state tax authorized by Measure 91, and a potential merger of regulation of medical marijuana — which has existed since voters approved it in 1998 — and recreational marijuana.

Measure 91, which voters passed Nov. 4, is a law that can be amended by legislators. Some of its provisions take effect July 1, but the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has a deadline of Jan. 4, 2016, to start receiving applications for licenses to grow, process and sell it in retail outlets.

Other senators on the committee are Lee Beyer, D-Springfield; Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli of John Day; Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, and Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.

Other representatives are Peter Buckley, D-Ashland; Ken Helm, D-Beaverton; Andy Olson, R-Albany, and Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass.

Kruse, Prozanski, Buckley and Wilson have been involved in previous legislative negotiations on related issues, such as medical marijuana and hemp cultivation. Olson retired from the Oregon State police as the lieutenant in charge of its drug enforcement unit.


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