Challenges and Triumphs: Oregon’s Drug Evolution of 2023

Throughout the year 2023 Oregon has emerged as a pioneer in reshaping drug policies.  In the initial half of the year, the state embarked on groundbreaking initiatives, spanning from decriminalizing drugs to legalizing psychedelics. Oregon House Republicans sparked debates by proposing reforms to the voter-approved drug decriminalization law.  The secretary of state’s office conducted a crucial audit. This audit provided valuable insights to enhance the implementation of these progressive measures.

The Drama

However, Governor Tina Kotek called for the resignation of OLCC Director Steven Marks. Gov. Kotek amid allegations of abuse of power also called for additional resignations. Potential conflicts of interest were possible in the audit process run by the Secretary of State’s office.  Director Marks and other OLCC officials were redirecting booze to markets where they were able to purchase the liquor, a non-approved perk of the job.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, took on La Mota in her personal consulting business allowing La Mota to review her work.  Federal investigations are still underway to see just how involved La Mota CEOs were able to manipulate the former Secretary of State. These proceedings just underline the intricate challenges of regulatory reform. Amid these resignations Oregon was still facing challenges, including marijuana recalls and regulatory hurdles in the psilocybin services program.

Jackson County Board of Commissioners urged for the repeal of the voter-approved law. The resignation of the manager overseeing drug decriminalization raised concerns about the program and it’s oversight. With resignations the OLCC offices have been cleaned out and  The state also grappled with controversies, including accusations against Gov. Kotek’s influence on the OLCC (due to large portions of her campaign fund coming from La Mota).

Marijuana Banking

Key political figures, such as Senators Merkley and Wyden, championed cannabis banking reform, emphasizing its importance for the industry. It is wild that a government can restrict an entire business to operating only by cash.  Especially when in 2023 alone Oregon brought in $170,572,100 in tax revenue. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Nancy Mace engaged in discussions on federal marijuana reform, hinting at potential shifts in Congress. Governor Kotek’s veto of a bill exploring a public bank for the marijuana industry reflected ongoing debates on regulatory strategies.

Other Good News

In other news, The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation embraced marijuana legalization, opening avenues for economic growth.


As Oregon navigates this complex landscape of legal, regulatory, and social challenges, its experiences contribute to shaping informed discussions on drug policies, cannabis, and psychedelics, paving the way for potential changes and reforms for other states who want to follow in Oregon’s footsteps.  Many other articles showing a shift in opinion has already occurred and it is about getting those in power to do what they’re voted in to do, make and pass legislation and laws that represent what the majority of Americans think.


More Reading

Kotek demands mass resignations in OLCC

The Power Couple of Oregon Cannabis Bankrolled Top Democrats Even as Their Companies’ Taxes and Bills Went Unpaid: A WW Investigation finds trouble ate La Mota, the second-largest cannabis dispensary chain in Oregon – The original article that sparked the investigation Check out Willamette week for more information as they’ve been following the scandal closely and reporting more frequently on it.

Acting Secretary of Sate Says Staff Repeatedly told Fagan to Cancel La Mota Contract: “Our Advise was ignored” “The secretary had predetermined she would take the contract from the moment she brought the issue to our attention.” – The newsletter has been crucial in being able to make relevant information available to everyone.  Check them out if you want to be ahead of the game in Cannabis content.


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