Oregon marijuana law could face legal challenge, city and county associations say

Oregon's new marijuana legalization law is on shaky legal ground when it tries to limit the ability of local governments to tax and regulate retail sales of the drug, lawyers for cities and counties argued Wednesday.

The warning of potential legal action came as the counties and cities continued to press the Oregon Legislature to rewrite the marijuana measure approved by voters last November.

The local governments want the ability to levy their own taxes on retail marijuana sales, and they want more latitude to prohibit local sales altogether.

"Frankly, I would prefer to work with you than go to court," Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties, told legislators studying the implementation of Measure 91.

Bovett presented an eight-page legal memo also signed by Sean O'Day, general counsel of the League of Oregon Cities, arguing that both state and federal law could trump the new law's provisions.


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