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Oregon legalizes recreational marijuana use

Yesterday, voters in Oregon passed Measure 91 to legalize the recreational use, home production and consumption of marijuana. The measure passed by a margin of 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent according to the Oregonian.

Although the measure was passed, the law will go into effect until July 2015. At that time, people will be able to carry one ounce of pot on them at any time. This may not seem like a large amount, but in fact one ounce is far more than most people have on them at any given time.

At home, people will be able to have up to four marijuana plants with up to 8 usable ounces of marijuana which must be kept from public view, up to 16 ounces of the drug in solid form, such as edibles, and up to 72 ounces of marijuana in liquid forms, such as THC oil.

Those seeking to become marijuana entrepreneurs must apply to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission by Jan. 1 2016.  The application will cost $250 while the annual licensing fee will cost $1,000. The OLCC has yet to decide whether or nor medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to go into the sale of recreational marijuana. Marijuana vendors will be taxed $35/oz for marijuana flowers, $10/oz for marijuana leaves, and $5 for marijuana plants which have not yet matured.

There may be conflict with local ordinances—many Oregon jurisdictions passed their own local restrictions and taxes ahead of the elections in the hopes of either being grandfathered in or in the hopes of winning legal battles. The text of Measure 91 says, “No county or city of this state shall impose any fee or tax, including occupation taxes, privilege taxes and inspection fees, in connection with the purchase, sale, production, processing, transportation, and delivery of marijuana items.”

There are also the typical common-sense measures relating to not being allowed to smoke and drive, and establishing 21 as the age at which people are allowed to smoke marijuana.

The Yes campaign was funded primarily by out-of-state advocacy groups looking to reform drug laws; it raised $4 million compared to the No campaign’s $200,000. Oregon voters had rejected a similar measure in 2012.

The job of regulating the sale and production of marijuana will go to the OLCC. Revenues made from these sales will go to a wide variety of public expenditures, including 20 percent towards mental health and addiction services, 40 percent towards the Common School Fund, 15 percent to Oregon State Police and 10 percent towards local law enforcement.

With marijuana legalized, and her husband Gov. Kitzhaber re-elected, perhaps Cylvia Hayes will finally be able to start that marijuana business.

Marijuana was also legalized in Alaska and in the District of Columbia.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Brad Matthews

Brad Matthews is the Digital Content Coordinator intern for Watchdog Wire. Twitter is @bradmatthewsDC

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Categories: Elections, Must Read, Policy


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