Oregon has been helping lead the cannabis law reform movement since it became the first state to decriminalize personal use back in 1973. After voting to join California as a medical state in 1998 and Colorado and Washington as legalized states in 2014, Oregon has maintained its leadership status and its legislators understand that the work still isn’t done. Led by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Oregon lawmakers are advocating that the National Conference of State Legislatures pass a directive that will lead to the conference lobbying Congress to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Schedule, effectively ending federal cannabis prohibition as Statesman Journal reported:

Oregon lawmakers have successfully found support for pot policy resolutions in the past, including one that passed in 2016. A similar resolution passed in 2017. But this year, Oregon is chasing a directive, which has a little more oompf.

Steiner Hayward said a resolution is important because it expresses the general will of the body — but a directive prioritizes lobbying efforts on the issue.

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The proposed directive before the national lawmakers’ conference states “legitimate business enterprises need access to financial institutions that provide capital, security, efficiency, and record keeping.”

After being born and raised, and starting my cannabis activism, in Missouri, I can truly appreciate how far Oregon, my home state for nearly 15 years, has progressed, while also understanding how much more needs to be done. Locally, we, among other things, still need to legalize cannabis cafes, ensure that patients have safe access to their medicine, and help assist craft businesses compete against big businesses. Federally, we need to do our part to end prohibition, free prisoners, expunge old convictions, fix the tax code, and provide businesses access to banking services. The single policy that can help us move forward towards a whole host of our priorities is descheduling cannabis from the Controlled Substances Schedule.

Descheduling will help the cannabis community, and our nation, by opening up medical research and allow states to implement their own policies, including interstate (if not international) commerce. With cannabis no longer federally illegal, then workplace and insurance policies could change more easily as well. For Oregon, allowing regulated cannabis to be sold across state lines would fix most of the state’s cannabis industry woes, generating more revenue for Beaver State’s government coffers and businesses (and it will be on us to make sure that the extra revenue is utilized to assist low-income patients). A sincere thanks for Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, and all legislators in Oregon, and across the nation working to deschedule cannabis, bringing an end to the failed, harmful, and racist policy of federal cannabis prohibition.

Learn the latest about local, federal, and international cannabis laws and regulations at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, Oregon, this September 27th-28th. Secure your tickets by September 12th to save $200!

Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation on Flickr.