REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
February 2, 2018
Good morning, I’m Governor Kate Brown.
I appreciate the opportunity to be here today. I especially would like to thank Billy Williams, our US Attorney for the District of Oregon, for convening this group.
I would also like to welcome the US Attorneys from Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and Washington. I hope what you experience here can be a model for how you work collaboratively to tackle challenges in your own states.
I appreciate US Attorney Williams’ pragmatic approach of bringing all stakeholders together to continue our efforts in ensuring that we have both a safe and a successful cannabis industry in Oregon.
He has assured my team that lawful Oregon businesses remain valued stakeholders in this conversation, and not targets of law enforcement.
I am well aware that conversations like these aren’t always easy but it is extremely important they happen. The President has told the governors that he wants the states to be the laboratories of democracy. I can think of no better laboratory than Oregon’s initiative process.
Today, we have an opportunity to work together to protect the will of our voters, create more jobs, grow our small businesses, and most importantly, to ensure the public’s safety.
Oregon is quickly adapting to the realities of a new market. We are righting the wrongs of a war on drugs that did nothing to address safety while our prisons filled to capacity. We are harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of our state and — at the same time — protecting our children.
As we blazed a new trail towards legalization, our work started by understanding one of the oldest truths about Oregon: the weather isn’t always great during the winter, but our summers and falls are glorious. That means our state is uniquely well suited for outdoor cannabis cultivation. And with this potential comes a responsibility to implement a careful approach to market regulation and policy.
After Oregonians voted to create a recreational cannabis market, my team and I worked with legislators and state agencies to recognize both the potential and the risks associated with this new market. We worked to build our cannabis market in good faith with the Cole Memorandum. From the start, our state’s primary focus has been to integrate extensive safety and tracking measures into the system.
These efforts have ramped up during the last four years. I am committed to continued action to keep cannabis in the state of Oregon, but out of the illegal market, and out of the hands of children. I am also dedicated to protecting the will of Oregon voters, who overwhelmingly support the cannabis industry, and the more than 19,000 jobs that this industry has created.
Today, we are here to recognize the responsibility we have to Oregonians. Today, we are here to work together to move forward, not backwards when it comes to our economy. Today, we are here to ensure our cannabis market is safe and prosperous.
Thank you for joining me in this commitment.