Berg

A kick in the pants to Oregon’s failure to keep up with the growing legal marijuana market.

Back in 2014, when legalized recreational cannabis was Oregon’s hottest topic, we endorsed the idea with the caveat that it be rolled out with proper checks in place. Prohibition was not working, and the drug’s harm is on par with — if not less than — alcohol. By regulating the market we expected the dual benefit of safer trade and tax revenue.

The latter has come through better than predicted. The former still needs work.

An audit by the Secretary of State’s office found that oversight of medical marijuana in particular is “insufficient,” with the likelihood that much of the product is going to the black market. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission isn’t keeping up with inspections as the market has surged.

We’re less concerned about the possibility of federal government intrusion on the enterprise than we are about marijuana getting into children’s hands. The more manufactured marijuana that slips out the back door, the less we know about who is getting their hands on it.

A kick in the pants to the attempt by the Humane Society of the United States and a group of west-side legislators to prohibit coyote-killing contests in Eastern Oregon.

Don’t take this as a straight-up endorsement of such events. There is certainly room to question and criticize the practice of killing wildlife for pure entertainment — no matter how ubiquitous or troublesome a species may be.

But the issue has absolutely no bearing on the west-side legislators’ districts, or on most Oregonians. The sponsors of Senate Bill 723 are mostly from the Portland metro area. There is no environmental or ecological impact cited in the bill. It’s a bill that rests on the moral argument that killing animals for sport is wrong, but more directly that it’s mean.

We’ve seen evidence that a genuine effort is underway in Oregon to bring urban and rural to a place of cooperation and connection. Bills like this show little understanding or respect, instead relying on majority muscle to enforce feel-good policies on people capable of making their own decisions.

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