(Seth McConnell, Denver Post file)

Oregon marijuana laws: Where legislation stands as deadline nears

SALEM, Ore. — As lawmakers push closer to the July 11 deadline to adjourn, the pace of activity is picking up precipitously.

After struggling for months to find common ground, lawmakers pushed forward a series of bills setting up regulations for Oregon’s new legal marijuana industry.

While possession and use of marijuana becomes legal for adults this week, the ballot measure that authorized it didn’t allow sales to begin until late in 2016. A legislative committee decided unanimously to allow temporary sales through existing medical marijuana dispensaries, saying it would be better to have people buying pot through legal channels.

The House voted to create a 17 percent sales tax for marijuana, with an option for local governments to tack on an additional 3 percent. The sales tax would replace a tax on growers that marijuana businesses said would be difficult to enforce.