Recreational Marijuana Use In Oregon
Oregon became the third state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It had been legal for medicinal use since 1998, with a number of attempts at total legalization before succeeding in 2014. This change has made significant changes for the citizens of the state as well as its financial position in regards to costs and revenues in relation to the substance.
It is now legal to not only purchase marijuana as an individual, but also to possess it and grow it for personal use. Households are permitted to have up to 4 plants growing at any given time. They can also have up to 8 ounces in their home. These amounts are more than adequate for the use of the substance by individuals.
It also is now able to be purchased by dispensaries. In the first week that it became legal there were over $11 million dollars in sales that were recorded, and that was before new dispensaries were able to set up. Those sales were from medical dispensaries that were already in place and had been able to get approval for the sale of marijuana to residents without medical permits. There were a number of them that actually faced shortages within the first few days of official legalization.
The initiative was passed via a vote among the citizens. Polls had showed overwhelming support of the act, but at the time of the actual vote it passed with just a 56% majority. Pundits believe this was due to the fact that many believed it would pass in a landslide and decided that they did not need to vote for it.
This legislation is also believed to be of benefit as there will not be the need to fine and jail citizens for possessing the substance as long as they are of legal age to do so. Jailing people for this has cost the state millions of dollars each year, which can now be directed to other services in the state. Additionally, there is now a source of revenue that had not previously existed. While money will be lost by not fining individuals, it is assumed that such a loss will be far less significant than the funds that will be generated through taxation.
There are some that oppose the legalization for a number of different reasons. A large percentage of these groups are from the pediatric medical profession. Their concern is that it will get in the hands of children and be normalized in society. Sheriff’s organizations also spoke out against legalization claiming that it will lead to more problems for law enforcement agencies. The Republican Party was also against the move, but the Democratic Party was overwhelmingly for the legislation.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2014 led to the state being the third state in the nation to legalization marijuana for recreational use. This is a trend that is spreading the country, with this state being part of leading the way. It is almost certain they will not be the last.