Although a majority of Oregon voters rejected a similar measure presented about two years ago, it seems that a similar but different measure legalizing adult use of cannabis will be making its way to the ballots in November of this year.
New Approach Oregon, a cannabis reform group, filed Initiative 53 the earlier this year and it has now received enough valid signatures to qualify Measure 91 for placement on the ballot. The measure would allow the possession, manufacture, sale of marijuana to and by adults. Each resident could legally possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and cultivate four plants without breaking the law. Medical marijuana patients will still be allowed to possess up to up 24 ounces.
Similar to non-medical marijuana legislation laws in Colorado and Washington, Measure 91 will allow adults over the age of 21 to legally smoke cannabis and concentrates, consume edibles and use cannabis-infused topical products without a medical recommendation from a physician and a license from the state.
Under the proposed regulations, any sales would be subject to taxation. There are varying reports about the projected revenue cannabis will bring to the state. One report estimates the sales will raise about $88 million within the first two years following the measure’s implementation. While a study conducted by ECOnorthwest estimated that first year sales would bring in about $38.5 million in tax revenue, bringing the projected two year total to $77 million.
Cannabis would be taxed at $35 an ounce or about $1.50 per gram. Any money from taxes will go towards education, law enforcement and programs geared towards mental health and drug treatment. The new taxes would not affect the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.
Residents of Oregon will be able to vote on the measure on Nov. 4, during the general election. Although the Oregon Health Authority currently oversees the medical marijuana program, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will regulate and oversee the recreational sales, which would begin in January 2016, if the measure is passed.
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