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Oregon marijuana industry residency
(AP)

A bill that would open Oregon’s marijuana industry to out-of-state investors passed out of committee Tuesday and now heads to the House.

The provision, part of House Bill 4014, removes the two-year residency requirement for license applicants included in a law passed last year by the Legislature.

The legislation is among several marijuana-related bills moving through the  35-day session, which began last week. 

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, co-chair of the committee, said the pending marijuana legislation represents “some of the major work that will be done in this session.”

Burdick, D-Portland, emphasized the urgency of the bills, saying the issues are critical to those entering the market.

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“People are making decisions and (filing) license applications right now, even as we speak,” she said before the vote.

The residency issue is a controversial one in the marijuana industry, with larger producers arguing that they need outside capital to grow and smaller ones worried they will be squeezed out of the market.

Among other provisions in the bill:

— Reducing annual medical marijuana card registration fees for veterans from $200 to $20. Currently, veterans with 100 percent disability qualify for the discount.

— Treating medical marijuana the same as prescription drugs when setting conditions for people on pretrial release, diversion unrelated to impaired driving, probation or post-prison supervision.

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— Allowing all marijuana establishments to deduct business expenses allowable under the federal tax code when filing state tax returns. Under current policy, only recreational marijuana businesses with Oregon Liquor Control Commission licenses are eligible to claim those exemptions.

— Allowing medical marijuana patients, many who complain that the Oregon Health Authority is slow to process applications for cards, to use completed application receipts as a registry card when shopping at dispensaries. Currently, patients must show a valid medical marijuana card to make purchases.

A House-Senate legislative committee has scheduled a public hearing on a second marijuana-related bill, Senate Bill 1511, for 3 p.m. Friday.

It would allow recreational marijuana stores to sell tax-free medical marijuana to patients. It also would allow people 21 and older to buy marijuana-infused edibles and concentrates during the state’s so-called early sales program.

Under that program, which began last October, medical marijuana dispensaries may sell to recreational consumers, but those sales have been limited to flowers, seeds and young marijuana plants.

Noelle Crombie

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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