Timeline Of Ethics Issues Surrounding Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

OREGON:  Just weeks after being sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation following allegations his fiancée used their relationship to win contracts for her consulting business and failed to report income on her taxes.

OCT. 8 – The Willamette Week newspaper reports that the governor’s fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used taxpayer resources to aid her green-energy consulting business.

OCT. 9 – Hayes tearfully admits to a newspaper report that in 1997 she was paid $5,000 to marry an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant seeking to stay in the United States. Because the statute of limitations had passed, she is not prosecuted. When she told Kitzhaber about the marriage, “he was stunned and he was hurt,” Hayes says. “And I will be eternally grateful for the beautiful, loving way he has supported me in this.”

OCT. 13 – Hayes acknowledges that in the same year as the marriage, she purchased property in Washington state intended to be used for a marijuana-growing operation but denies participating financially, saying that the scheme “never materialized.” The man who sold the property says he found evidence that it did. Washington has since legalized medical and recreational marijuana, but the drug was illegal there in 1997.

Subpoenas Arrive As Oregon Governor Announces Departure

OREGON:  Just hours after Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his decision to resign, a subpoena arrived in a state office building confirming that federal agents are looking into the influence-peddling scandal that led to the abrupt end of a four-decade political career.

The Democratic governor gave in to mounting pressure Friday, abandoning his office amid suspicions that is live-in fiancée used her relationship with him to land contracts for her green-energy consulting business.

His resignation, which takes effect Wednesday, cleared the way for Secretary of State Kate Brown to assume Oregon’s highest office and become the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.

“This is a sad day for Oregon. But I am confident that legislators are ready to come together to move Oregon forward,” said Brown, also a Democrat. Unlike most states, Oregon does not have a lieutenant governor. The secretary of state is next in line to succeed the governor.

 

Oregon Home Marijuana Possession Limits Are Too High, John Kitzhaber Suggests

OREGON:  Gov. John Kitzhaber expressed concern Tuesday about how much marijuana Oregonians would be allowed to possess at home under the new legalization measure – and he indicated that he might ask legislators to seek lower limits.

The governor, saying he has “many concerns” about the initiative approved by voters, questioned the logic of allowing voters to possess up to a half-pound of marijuana at home but just one ounce in public.

“The amount you can actually grow in a home-grow operation seems to me to exceed the amount that you’re supposed to have legally,” Kitzhaber told reporters. “I don’t know how you enforce that.”

Backers of Measure 91, which was approved by 56 percent of voters at the November election, say they purposely set higher possession limits at home to allow adults to grow marijuana and make concentrates and pot-laced edibles.

Oregon mulls candidates for committee that will draft rules for medical marijuana shops

OREGON: A committee that makes recommendations to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has suggested adding two prosecutors and an Oregon State Police official to the committee that will draft rules for the new registry for medical marijuana retailers. [Read more…]

Medical marijuana dispensaries a signature away from approval

OREGON:

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Medical marijuana dispensaries are a signature away from being legal in Oregon. The state House of Representatives approved a bill Saturday to establish a licensing system for medical marijuana outlets. The bill, which passed 32-27, now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber to sign. [Read more…]

Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bills Into Law

OREGON: Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) Monday signed into law two measures that will reduce the punishments for certain marijuana-related offenses. The changes go into effect immediately.

The first, Senate Bill 40, lowers the penalties for possession of more than an ounce of pot. Under the old laws, possession of more than four ounces was a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, possession of between one and four ounces was a Class B felony; now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months.

It also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor.

SB 40 also reduces the penalties for marijuana cultivation. Unlawful manufacture was a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; now, it becomes a Class B felony dropping the maximum sentence by half. [Read more…]

Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bills Into Law

OREGON: Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) Monday signed into law two measures that will reduce the punishments for certain marijuana-related offenses. The changes go into effect immediately.

The first, Senate Bill 40, lowers the penalties for possession of more than an ounce of pot. Under the old laws, possession of more than four ounces was a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, possession of between one and four ounces was a Class B felony; now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months.

It also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor.

SB 40 also reduces the penalties for marijuana cultivation. Unlawful manufacture was a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; now, it becomes a Class B felony dropping the maximum sentence by half. [Read more…]