Guys, it’s here. Legalization of marijuana is once again on the ballot for 2014. Last time around, Oregon voters shot down the measure which was mostly due to a poorly created measure. This year, it seems that Oregon has finally got it together with a measure that makes sense. This time around, Oregon has been targeted by major cannabis financial backers, as there has been a large media campaign in support of legalization. So what is Measure 91, and should you vote yes? Yes, yes you should. Lets breakdown the measure.
Ballot Title 91: Allows possession, manufacture, sale of marijuana by/to adults, subject to state licensing, regulation, and taxation.
Measure 91 allows production, processing, delivery, possession, sale of marijuana to adults, and licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Homegrown marijuana will not be regulated or taxed, but is limited to 4 plants.
Why it makes sense from a financial standpoint: Lets be honest, marijuana is everywhere here in Oregon. It’s impossible to walk downtown without smelling marijuana smoke during your day. Possession of less than an ounce is also de-criminalized, which means that possession of cannabis is essentially the legal equivalence of speeding. With the possession and sale of cannabis still living in the grey area of the law, our state is missing out on some serious tax revenue.
Measure 91 would allocate tax revenue from the sale of cannabis to the following organizations
- 40% to Common School Fund
- 20% to Mental health and alcohol/drug services
- 20% for Local law enforcement
- 15% for State police
- 5% to Oregon Health Authority
If measure 91 passes, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is expecting yearly tax revenue to range from 17-40 million dollars. Although there are costs associated with this new revenue, this could result in revenue near these numbers:
- 8-16 millions dollars to Common School Fund
- 4-8 million dollars to Mental health and alcohol/drug services
- 4-8 million dollars for Local law enforcement
- 2.55-6 million dollars for State police
- 850k-2 million dollars to Oregon Health Authority
With funding to these organizations consistently being slashed, how could you say no to taxing something that is already happening? Think of how much an impact 8 million dollars could have on individuals suffering from mental illness, or drug addiction. Additioanlly, consider how much of an impact 16 million dollars could have on Oregon schools. This could help lower class sizes, enhance student learning, and much more.
How will tax be collected?
Here’s the good news for Oregon. Unlike in Washington where marijuana is taxed at all levels (taxed from grower to distributor and distributor to consumer), the tax will be imposed to the PRODUCER at a rate of $35 per ounce, $10 per ounce on leaves, and $5 per plant. In my opinion, this should result in dramatically lower costs versus Washington. If you weren’t aware, the price per GRAM in Washington was around $30 when legalization began, and is now sitting between $20-35 per gram a few months later. This is nearly 4 times the street prices, which is NOT helping the cause!
Why this measure ROCKS
Section 58: Marijuana laws supersede and repeal inconsistent charters and ordinances. Washington did not have a section similar to this, which means that in Washington, certain ordinances may prohibit the use, sale, and cultivation of marijuana. This is incredibly confusing, as marijuana could be legal in one city, and illegal in another. Section 58 makes sure that the laws are uniform across the state, and will avoid the chaos that happened in Washington.
Taxation: Unlike in Washington, marijuana will be taxed ONCE, and to the GROWER! This should reduce the cost of marijuana and hopefully keep prices close to current street prices.
Homegrow, Legally: Under this measure, adults over 21 are allowed to grow up to 4 plants at a time, and have 8 ounces of usable marijuana at any time.
Some potential outcomes should this measure pass
- Reduced gang activity. To this day, a large percentage of marijuana is produced and distributed by gangs. Bringing the sale and distribution off the black market will allow legitimate businesses to take over the role of production and distribution, which can potentially reduce gang prevalence and activity
- Lab tested marijuana, and safe access to those already consuming cannabis. Today, it is impossible for non-medical marijuana patients to purchase marijuana in a safe way. We are forced to purchase marijuana from a “dealer” rather than a regulated establishment. Measure 91 will provide safe and regulated access to users.
- Reduced alcohol abuse, and opiate abuse. With a legal and safe way to get “high”, many people will move away from opiates and alcohol with the legal option of consuming marijuana. It was shown than opiate overdoses reduce about 25% once states adopt medical marijuana.
- Increased control over the sale of marijuana. Recent studies have shown that is easier for teenagers to obtain marijuana versus alcohol. If marijuana was regulated in the same way as alcohol, we can reduce the availability to minors. We all know that drug dealers don’t ask for ID!
What you can do to help!
You can help by voting YES on 91, and spreading the message! Share this blog post on Facebook, Reddit, wherever! Help get the word out before the voting deadline!