Think Out Loud

Oregon Town Hall: Pot In 2015

By John Rosman (OPB) and Amelia Templeton (OPB)
Dec. 12, 2014 8 p.m.
Hilary Bricken an Attorney with Harris-Moure, and editor of Canna Law Blog talks with the crowd.

Hilary Bricken an Attorney with Harris-Moure, and editor of Canna Law Blog talks with the crowd.

Michelle Leis / OPB


Should Oregon reform or end its Medical Marijuana Program, when recreational pot becomes available? Should Oregon cities and counties locally tax pot? Is it socially acceptable to smoke in front of a child?

This conversation took place Thursday, December 11 at Rontoms at 8:00 p.m.

Guests on the show

In conjunction with Thursday's broadcast, a group of journalists live tweeted the event

  • Lauren Dake, The Columbian politics reporter (@LaurenDake)
  • Lizzy Duffy, OPB News blogger (@LizzyDuffy)
  • Anna Staver, Statesman Journal state political reporter (@AnnaStaver),
  • Peter Wong, Portland Tribune Salem bureau reporter (@CapitolWong)
  • Dirk VanderHart, Portland Mercury Reporter (@dirquez)

To join the discussion on Twitter, follow the hashtag #ORpot.

Oregon is now part of a small group of four states that legalized marijuana. Since it's still illegal at the federal level, legal pot is considered by many as a grand experiment.

In Oregon, that experiment will be underway as of July, 2015. But even with different regulations, if we look to our neighbors to the north, it's obvious that an enormous, complicated task lies ahead.

So what will Oregon pot look like 2015? Below are three big themes we will be exploring during the hour.

Should Oregon End Medical Marijuana?


In theory, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) is exempt from the regulations created by Measure 91. In reality, changes may be on the horizon.

In Colorado and Washington, the loose regulation of medical pot has led to problems and has prompted lawmakers to propose major reforms. One member of the Oregon Legislature has already proposed getting rid of the OMMP, and others think reforms are necessary.

But if you ask Oregonians — as we have — the issue sparks passionate debate among the community.

Should Oregon Cities Tax Pot Locally?

John Rosman / OPB

About 70 cities in Oregon approved taxes on recreational marijuana.

Some, like Fairview, hope a steep 40 percent tax will discourage a market popping up in their town. Other cities hope to benefit from a lucrative market. But either way, Measure 91 bans local taxes.

One of the bill's authors Anthony Johnson told OPB reporter Chris Lehman,

[L]ocal taxes will drive up the cost of recreational marijuana to the point that people will simply buy it on the illicit market, which produces no tax revenue for anybody.

Meanwhile, cities in Washington are saying they want their share of pot profits too.

How Will Oregon's Pot Culture Change?

Oregon has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the country. In a 2011 national survey, about 11 percent of Oregonians over 12 said they had smoked pot sometime in the past month. So, how will legalization affect Oregon culture? What new conversations are people having about marijuana in communities across the state?

How do you come out as a pot smoker at work? Should you? Where is the line between recreational use and addiction? Should you smoke pot in front of your kids?

What are issues you think will define the future debate? What's your experience with marijuana?