Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Core of Judge Wolke’s Ruling

          The core of Judge Wolke’s argument in ruling against us seems to be that he cannot believe that the state left homegrown cannabis unregulated by Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and instead would have it regulated by the Department Of Agriculture, with no local regulation allowed.  But homegrown is not regulated by the Department of Agriculture; it is protected by it, through ORS 633.738, the Seed Bill, as with any other seed crop, like tomatoes or lettuce. 
Under Measure 91 and unchanged by the legislature, the homegrown exception to the OLCC licensing rules is regulated by the police, the DA, and the OLCC to the extent that, if one has too much cannabis or cannabis products to fall within the homegrown exception from OLCC regulation, one is subject to OLCC’s licensing regulations, starting with one’s lack of a license and the penalty for violating the rules by not having one.
This is exactly the same situation as with the other product that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission regulates, alcohol.  OLCC is a licensing and regulating agency for businesses; it does not regulate home brewing, winemaking, or liquor distilling, as long as a household stays within the 200 gallon household possession limit.  Nor does it permit local regulation of home production of alcohol.  Why should the state allow either for cannabis?
The state has good reason not to.  Judge Wolke dismisses the benefit that people get out of growing their own cannabis outdoors as a “slight” savings of money, offset by a drop in tax revenue, and puts it up against possible loss of property value for neighbours.  But he fails to see why the homegrown exception was allowed and even expanded by the legislature: because its competition keeps the price of cannabis and its products in the stores down, and thereby discourages the black market, which requires a restricted supply creating higher prices.  Homegrown cannabis thus benefits every consumer of cannabis.  Lower prices for cannabis and not having to buy it in stores also benefits producers and sellers of other consumer products because people aren’t spending as much money on it.  It even benefits legal sellers of cannabis, by making illegal selling not worth the risk.
But Judge Wolke’s reluctance to accept the state’s ban on local regulation of homegrown cannabis does not matter if it fits within the definition of seed crops in the Seed Bill that protects it, so he tries to define it as other than flower seed or nursery seed.  In our next article, we will refute his attempts to do so.

March 12, 2016 protest leaflet.  Published on  
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Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener          541-955-9040