SALEM — Pot brownies? There’s a lobbyist for that.
As the legalized marijuana industry expands in Oregon, growers, processors, manufacturers and retailers are joining forces to lobby for the interests of their niche market.
Oregon Responsible Edibles Council is the latest manifestation of that effort.
The new lobbying group and trade association, formed by David McNicoll, owner of Dave’s Space Cakes in Eugene, will meet for the first time Nov. 20 in Eugene.
“We would like to be a voice for edibles in the state of Oregon,” McNicoll said.
The group plans to accomplish that mission through a public education campaign and lobbying efforts during the February legislative session.
McNicoll wants to allay public fear about overdosing from edibles.
News coverage of cannabis edibles has been less-than complimentary of the industry. One example was when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote about eating a whole marijuana-infused chocolate bar that contained multiple servings, McNicoll noted.
Public education is his answer to negative perceptions about edibles. He envisions the group organizing advertising campaigns and distributing posters and retail cards with information on how to avoid an overdose.
Another priority for the council is to lobby lawmakers in February to change the definition of a “limited marijuana retail product” to include low-dose edibles. Edibles sales are limited to patients with a medical marijuana card. Expanding the definition would allow marijuana dispensaries to sell edibles to recreational users.
McNicoll came up with the idea for the lobby group while participating in the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association. Council meetings will be in conjunction with the association’s meetings until further notice.
About 10 individuals and businesses have joined the edibles council to date, he said.
The group already has an influential voice through its founder. McNicoll recently was selected to serve on the Oregon Health Authority’s Medical Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and plans to argue against burdensome testing requirements for edibles.
“If regulations are too price-prohibitive, it will stifle the success of the industry,” McNicoll said.
He’ll be up against members of the public safety organizations such Oregon League of Cities, which will be advocating for more testing and stricter packaging of edibles, said the league’s Scott Winkels.