November’s election ballot will likely see the addition of two new pieces of Oregon legislation regarding the legalization of marijuana in the state, and Oregonians will have the opportunity to vote on both issues. Marijuana use was decriminalized in Oregon in 1973, and personal possession of up to one ounce is now considered a violation rather than a crime (with exceptions), punishable by a fine. The 2012 Oregon Cannabis Tax Act hopes to legally regulate marijuana cultivation and sales in Oregon, and legalize the cultivation of hemp for biofuels, fibers, and foods without a license. The Act would allow for state regulation of the sale of marijuana to adults at state-licensed stores. Oregon residents would be able to grow personal use marijuana, and farmers would be able to cultivate the crop for state-licensed sales. Marijuana cultivation, sales, and use in Oregon would be overseen by a newly-created Oregon Cannabis Commission. Proponents of the Act estimate that marijuana taxes would provide well over $100 million in income for Oregon State each year, save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually in law enforcement costs, and provide “untold multitudes of new jobs.” Well over 100,000 signatures have been collected in support of the 2012 Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, with a goal of 150,000 by July.
The second piece of legislation, IP-24, would amend Oregon State’s Constitution to allow adults age 21 and older to personally and privately possess, use, and cultivate marijuana, except in actions endangering children and public safety, and calls for state regulation of these activities. According to the amendment, “the State may enact laws and regulations consistent with this amendment to reasonably define, limit and regulate the use, possession, production, sale or taxation of marijuana under state law.” This amendment is supported by the group Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, which has aided in the collection of over 150,000 signatures in support of the amendment, with a goal of 185,000.
The above pieces of legislation would not change federal marijuana laws in the US. Visit http://cannabistaxact.org/ for information about the Cannabis Tax Act, and http://endprohibitionagain.com/oregon-initiative-24/ for information about IP-24, and keep an eye out for both of these on your November ballot.
By Genevieve Weber
– Information about the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act
– Information about IP-24