Major Changes That Came With The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Of 2014
Medical marijuana had been legalized in the state of Oregon in 1998, recognizing the plant as being useful to treat a number of conditions facing their citizens. However, in 2014 that was greatly expanded with the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2014. This legislation made it legal for its citizens to partake in the drug’s use for recreational purposes, while giving the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the authority to regulate and tax its distribution.
This change has been part of a larger movement by many states to change policies regarding the use of marijuana. Many argue that the drug is extremely safe for use by adults. Like other substances, there are age requirements put into place that restrict who is able to purchase it, which lowers the rates of young people taking part in its use at too early of an age.
It also greatly reduces the number of people that are incarcerated in that state for simply possessing the drug. This helps to keep families in tact and reduces the costs of housing prisoners significantly. This enables the state to invest the money earned through taxation into other programs that helps its citizens.
By making marijuana legal for recreational use there is also a great deal that is earned through taxing its purchase. When a drug is illegal the only means of taxing it is by fining citizens for possessing it. However, that only reaches a small percentage of users and often leads to money lost through incarceration. Instead, by making it legal, the state is able to benefit from every sale that is made. This has substantially increased revenues while reducing court and prison costs.
The measure passed as a ballot initiative with the support of 56% of those that voted. The approval of the act is believed to be much higher among the general population based on polls that were taken before the voting took place. The citizens believed that they could benefit far more from the taxation of marijuana that the incarceration of those that were using the drug regardless of the legality of it.
In just the first week of the substance becoming legal for sale to the general public there were over $11 million dollars in sales. The numbers are not yet clear, when considering the impact of the loss of revenue on fines and the decrease of costs regarding incarceration, but the revenue from taxing the drug is believed to be anywhere from $17 to $40 million each year. This figure is based on what has been seen in other states that have moved towards legalization before them.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2014 made marijuana legal for recreational use in the state. This move was taken in hopes of creating a better future for the citizens of the state while also greatly increasing tax revenues through those that use the drug. While there are opponents to the measure, most believe it was a step in the right direction.