The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in hearing room F at the Oregon State Capitol. The panel, a mix of advocates, lawyers, law enforcement officials and state administrators, has an agenda packed with thorny legal and technical issues as the state figures out how to regulate Oregons already booming medical marijuana retail industry. The committee is expected to wrap up its work by Dec. 1. Tom Burns, the committee facilitator who oversees the state’s pharmaceutical drug program, asked the Oregon Department of Agriculture for advice on how to proceed with crafting testing standards. Theodore Bunch, coordinator of the states Pesticide Analytical and Response Center, is heading up that effort and expects to report to the committee on Friday. Among the issues being considered: How often should marijuana be tested and who should perform the tests? Should third-party labs or the dispensaries themselves perform the tests? Should labs have to register with the state? Should those conducting the tests be required to undergo criminal background checks, similar to the ones required of dispensary owners? What standards should the labs follow? Are any levels of mold, mildew and pesticide acceptable? Also, Burns wondered, should the results simply be posted alongside the drug or should the state prohibit marijuana contaminated with pesticide from being sold? This testing thing is really going to be very complicated, he said. Marijuanas outlaw status under federal law complicates states efforts to draft testing rules. For instance, there arent any pesticides registered for use on cannabis since its illegal federally. And unlike labs that test for water quality or other environmental concerns, those that focus on marijuana testing dont fall under any national accrediting body. Whether to allow pesticide use at all when cultivating marijuana is a key question for Oregon policy makers, said Bunch. The long-term health implications of pesticide, mold and mildew exposure from smoking marijuana arent known, he said. From an inhalation standpoint, I dont believe there are any tolerances or benchmarks that say this level of mold is acceptable or this level of mildew is acceptable, Bunch said.
Marijuana dispensaries to be allowed in 3 zones
The vote is only a proposal for the Board of Selectmen to incorporate when setting warrant articles for next years annual Town Meeting, when RMD plans are scheduled for discussion. The selectmens and Board of Healths recommendations for local RMD application proposals and policy for operation will also be part of the warrant article. The Planning Board still has time to make changes to its proposal, as the warrant will not close until December. A two-thirds majority at Town Meeting must support the zoning regulations before they are adopted. The map for where registered marijuana dispensaries (RMD) would be allowed is taking shape in Lexington. During their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9, the Planning Board unanimously approved a proposal for zoning to allow different types of dispensaries in three districts around town. The proposed zoning would allow all-purpose RMDs – growing, production and distribution – in the manufacturing district, while distribution-only RMDs would be allowed in retail shopping centers and the central business district. The board also decided not to propose any regulations for the buildings that house dispensaries other than those already regulated in the zoning. The state Department of Public Health prohibts dispensaries within 500 feet of a place where children congregate; cities and towns my increase this setback but may not reduce it. Planning Board members did not think there were many reasons for public conern over the distribution of medical marijuana.