Oregonians and those who work for them in the Legislature continue to have mixed feelings about marijuana, apparently. How else to explain a pair of Senate bills that will be taken up when the Legislature convenes Tuesday?
Senate Bill 218 could limit the amount of weed in the state by giving the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the right to deny folks production licenses if too much of the stuff is being grown.
Senate Bill 365, on the other hand, would bar cities and counties from imposing system development charges on projects related to the production, processing or retailing of marijuana.
The measures would intrude on the marijuana market in ways that state law applies to little else.
As one example, while both state and federal governments require would-be brewers to obtain permits or licenses, neither decides whether your new brewery will be the last one in the door. Permits and licenses in hand, you have the right to brew your beer even if the state is swimming in the stuff.
To be sure, there is a glut of marijuana these days, and Oregon has a stake in seeing that what’s grown here stays here. One could make the case, however, that trying to control the market by controlling the supply is a sure way to drive some growers underground.
As for system development charges, cities, park districts and counties don’t generally waive the fees. Bend did give builders more time to pay the fees during the depths of the Great Recession, however. Nor does Bend charge system development charges on affordable housing, and it has, at least temporarily, lowered some of them on day care facilities in an effort to encourage their growth.
Marijuana businesses, like other businesses and homeowners in the area, should pay system development changes when new development occurs. Just as the state shouldn’t try to control how much marijuana is grown, it also shouldn’t give marijuana business owners a break not available to other Oregonians.