JWA Blog

Ballot Measure 91 - To Toke or not to Toke

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's time to legalize recreational marijuana: Editorial endorsement – The Oregonian

The Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91 If approved by voters, would legalize recreational marijuana for people ages 21 and older, allowing adults over this age to possess up to eight ounces of "dried" marijuana and up to four plants. Additionally, the measure would task the Oregon Liquor Control Commission with regulating sales of the drug. – Ballotpedia

Supporters of 91 tell us that recreational marijuana is pretty much legal now in Oregon. Almost 70,000 Oregonians have medical marijuana cards now and it is not a stretch to think that these are probably sharing folks.  On the other hand, pot is not legal, causing state and local governments use valuable resources to enforce current laws.  According to the Oregon State Police, over 13,000 people were arrested or cited for marijuana offenses last year.   The Yes on Measure 91 supporters note that the revenue generated from taxes could be anywhere from $16 million (Legislative Revenue Office, State of Oregon) up to $38 million (ECONorthwest) for the first year.

Opponents to the measure say that it will be easier for kids to get their hands on pot and that legalization will increase the number of people driving under the influence. They are probably right. Challengers to the measure ask why not see what lessons are learned from Washington and Colorado, the only states legalizing pot, before jumping on board.

So, some of the questions we need to ask ourselves, is it inevitable that pot will be legalized at some point?  Should we be using valuable resources to go after folks that smoke or sell pot?  Legalizing marijuana will probably make it easier for kids to attain it, but is it much different than how alcohol is attained?  One thing to remember, however, even if pot is legalized in the state of Oregon, as it stands, marijuana will still be illegal at the Federal level. 



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