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Ashland Crowd Urges Oregon Pot Regulators To Go Lightly

Liam Moriarty/JPR

A crowd of about 400 turned out in Ashland Wednesday night to give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission their thoughts as the OLCC prepares to create regulations for the state’s soon-to-be-legal recreational marijuana industry.

The auditorium at Southern Oregon University was close to capacity for the latest in the commission’s series of “listening sessions” around the state. Under Measure 91, which voters passed in November, the agency is charged with designing and overseeing regulations for recreational cannabis. 

Speakers expressed a variety of concerns. Many criticized proposals to restrict retail marijuana store locations so children won’t see them.

"You say we can’t have it around kids. But a kid can walk into a convenience store and see beer. How is that any different?" asked one speaker.

Proposals to limit edible marijuana packaging that could appeal to children met with some support.  Another speaker observed, "Some of them simply look too close. I have a three year old. It’s incredibly difficult to keep them away from everything."

Most at the meeting rejected a notion that’s gaining traction among lawmakers in Salem -- folding the existing medical marijuana program into the new recreational market. They said the legislature shouldn’t make such a major change in the law as passed by voters. 

This was the fifth public meeting the OLCC has held so far. Five more are planned.  

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.