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Food, Agriculture, and Animals
In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Oregon Halts New Hemp Permits

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The Oregon Department of Agriculture says it's putting a temporary halt to issuing hemp permits.

The state of Oregon has stopped taking applications for permits to grow industrial hemp. The Oregon Department of Agriculture said the suspension will last until at least next spring.

Hemp growers and marijuana growers have clashed at the Oregon legislature. Pot farmers say cross-pollination from hemp can potentially harm marijuana plants.

They wanted state lawmakers to ban hemp production in parts of the state with lots of marijuana crops. That bill failed to pass. But the Oregon Department of Agriculture says it's putting a temporary halt to issuing hemp permits so that regulators and lawmakers can sort out a range of complex policy questions.

The decision won't affect a handful of hemp farmers who already have permits. The agency said it will reevaluate its decision following the 2016 legislative session.