As I write this column Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2648 into law. Finally, Oregonians can skip the doctor’s prescription to purchase Sudafed.
When the 2021 legislative session began, passing this bill was one of my top priorities. Of course, supporting businesses, balancing the budget and fully funding education are also on my priority list and I have supported many of these concepts with my vote.
Of the legislation I personally introduced, HB 2648 was on the top of the list, along with HB 2646 (The Oregon Kratom Consumer Protection Act), which regulates kratom. In lieu of the pandemic, wildfires, and tragedy our state has overcome in the past year, I know these concepts do not seem of grave importance, but good policy is always important.
You have most likely seen the “KRATOM SOLD HERE” signs at just about every market on the street, but might not know what kratom actually is. Kratom has been consumed safely for centuries in Southeast Asia and Americans use it in the same way that coffee is used for increased focus and energy boosts. Many use kratom for pain management without the opioid side effects. The problem in Oregon is that adulterated products are being sold. That means there is Kratom spiked with dangerous drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and morphine. You may have read stories about kids overdosing on kratom, and that’s because the product is not regulated so there is no way to know what is being sold. Kratom in its pure form is a natural product. Adulterated kratom is a potentially dangerous product.
HB 2646 regulates this product to ensure the product being sold is pure. The bill also bans those under age 21 from purchasing this product. Currently, HB 2646 is in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and has large support from both parties. I am hopeful the bill will pass and soon be voted on in both chambers. There are many important issues that have been and are being addressed this session, and these are two of them. I figure that lowering healthcare costs and protecting our kids are very important.
Although these two concepts have been on the top of my list, I’ve also been working on other very important issues. With the help of my colleagues, I helped pass legislation that brings property tax relief for homeowners that lost their homes in the wildfires. We banned the public disclosure of private information on the internet. We fully funded Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), not only in Marion County, but across the state and more.
Even in a super minority, this is just a small amount of the work I’ve been able to accomplish with the help of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I imagine this session will wrap up some time at the end of next week and I am hopeful the 2022 short session will be fully opened to the public again.
(Bill Post represents House District 25. He can be reached at 503-986-1425 or via email at [email protected]).