It was quite a year for Oregon Cannabis between COVID-19 and the forest fires. On the one hand, sales rose significantly through mid-summer, on the other hand, many growers, particularly in southern Oregon and Lane Counties, were severely affected by the forest fires that consumed much of the state. As we wrote here in September, every fifth licensed company was on evacuation records. Marijuana companies hit by the fires were not eligible for federal disaster relief, and Portland pharmacies were targeted at least 47 times during the summer. Perhaps a ray of hope, if you can call it that, was the eviction moratorium.
Regular readers can recall that on April 1, Governor Brown signed Executive Order 20-13, which imposed a temporary moratorium on evictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ordinance 20-13 expired on July 1, 2020, so Oregon legislation incorporated House Bill 4213 (“HB 4213”) to extend the moratorium on non-payment of rent on residential and commercial premises. Governor Brown signed Law HB 4213 in late June. The governor passed another resolution in late September, Executive Order 20-56, which extended the moratorium to the end of the year – but only for residential property.
On November 22nd, Oregon legislature adopted a proposal to extend the state’s moratorium on house evictions and set up a relief fund to assist landlords. (Hat tip to Jamie Goldberg from Oregonian). This new proposal would extend the moratorium until June 30, 2021 and oblige tenants to repay the entire rent back on July 1. What is not included in the proposal for the stabilization of rental apartments that I have reviewed is protection for commercial tenants. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not.
We want lawmakers to consider special safeguards and programs for Oregon cannabis companies affected by forest fires who are not eligible for government assistance. (Though Senators Wyden and Merkeley sponsored a federal legislative change.) Finally, it is time to be grateful, and I want to thank the Oregon cannabis companies for setting up a relief fund in Jackson County to help people who are lost their homes. For more information, visit the United Way Jackson County Fire Relief Fund website – and make a donation here.