I’m proud that Portland remains a leader in Oregon, and throughout the country, dedicated to the appropriate and responsible use of cannabis. We have even adopted stringent regulations on behalf of our residents that go well beyond the State of Oregon's requirements. Under City of Portland guidelines, inspectors regularly visit facilities to address permitting requirements and ensure safety codes are met.
With the recent revocation of the Cole Memorandum, which outlined the federal government’s smart approach to cannabis regulation, there is some uncertainty about the future of the industry. Upon rescinding the Memorandum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions placed the deciding power in the hands of unelected U.S. Attorneys. And shortly after, Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams released an encouraging yet measured statement on the importance of the continued partnership between the State and local municipalities.
While we appreciate U.S. Attorney Williams initial response, the Portland City Council sent him a letter reminding him of the importance of continued local control of cannabis. Local control and regulation of Portland’s rapidly growing cannabis industry is not only more efficient; it’s much safer. It’s tailored to what has and hasn’t worked during Portland’s legalization process. This way, we can better meet the needs of our city’s residents and visitors, and allow these legal businesses to thrive.
It is essential that our cannabis industry remains under our local control so we can maintain safety in our community while we continue to allocate the tax revenue to our prioritized recipients, namely small minority businesses and communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by drug crime laws.
Both Portlanders and Americans across the country deserve clear, fair, and consistent policies concerning the strong regulation of cannabis. While the current shift in federal policy may cause some haziness around the future of cannabis policy in Oregon and Portland, I can assure you that state and local officials will continue to consistently dedicate ourselves to protecting this burgeoning industry and the communities it impacts.
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