How Sausage Gets Made in Oregon: Talking to Attorney Leland Berger
By Art Cosgrove
Oregon Cannabis Connection
The National Organization for Marijuana Legalization (NORML) has been a household name-type of outfit for decades. The group was the de facto respectable face of the marijuana legalization movement for a long time, but then the whole movement sort of became respectable due to society’s changing mores. Now with marijuana medically legal in more states than it’s not, and an increasing number of states looking favorably on recreational legalization, as well, you might be wondering what the legal eagles at NORML are working on.
We spoke with Leland Berger, head of the Oregon CannaBusiness Compliance Counsel, who is also an attorney on the Portland NORML Legislative Committee. We asked him what the focus was now, in states where legalization has already prevailed—like Oregon, Washington and Colorado.
“This session [ 2017 Oregon Legislative], we were able to get two bills introduced: Senate Bill 301, where we’re working with Beth Creighton of Creighton & Rose,” says Berger. Creighton is one of the co-chairs of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) employment section and has been representing employees for over 20 years. “She came up with this idea about how currently the law already makes it an unlawful business practice to fire or refuse to hire someone for off-site tobacco use. So why not extend that to off-site state legal cannabis use?”
The idea gained support from Senator Floyd Prozanski (D), who represents South Lane and North Douglas counties, and soon SB301 was on the table for debate. The effects of this bill cannot be understated: Aside from the fact that it would extend the basic protections cigarette smokers already enjoy, it could potentially be the first salvo in the battle against pre-employment drug testing. Berger remains vague on this point, as the…