Election Special: Measure 91, Legal Weed
By Keefer Dunn, Staff Writer
Washington and Colorado have made a big splash by being the first states to legalize marijuana, and the waves are being felt everywhere. Now, not only is Washington D.C. and Alaska riding the wave of voting on marijuana legalization, Oregon is also coming along for the ride. Oregon’s Measure 91 pertains to the legalization of marijuana. As Oregon law currently stands, marijuana use, production, selling, and possession is illegal. The exception to this is regulated possession, use and production of medical marijuana under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.
If the measure passes, regulated personal possession and a commercial regulatory system of production, distribution and sale will go into effect. Use of marijuana will be limited to certain places similar to alcohol use.
One will have be 21 years old to be able to possess marijuana or marijuana products. A person of such age is allowed to have in their home:
–8 ounces of marijuana
–16 ounces of marijuana products
–72 ounces of marijuana in liquid form
–1 ounce of marijuana extracts
–4 marijuana plants which are not in public view
A person can also be in possession of one ounce of marijuana while away from home, but it can’t be in public view.
When students were asked about the measure, the responses of those asked were all in
favor. One student said it should be legalized because people are going to use marijuana
regardless of it being legal, and this way less people will be incarcerated for it, driving down numbers in Oregon prisons. Another student felt that it would reduce crime. Others felt similar, talking about the removal of business from cartels and drug dealers.
Another student agreed with it being legalized, but for economic reasons. He believed that taxes put on marijuana could relieve other current taxation, as it is a product that will be in high demand despite taxation amount. He also believed that America is on its way toward legalizing marijuana already, and this measure will put Oregon ahead of the game.
Those who oppose the measure often call it poorly written. An argument of opposition put forward by the Sheriffs of Oregon and Oregon Chiefs of Police Association points out that the measure has no proposed methods of testing drivers for marijuana intoxication. They also say the possession limits suggested by the measure are too high.
Some medical officials from Colorado are also opposing the measure due to its policies on edibles, marijuana products in the form of food and candy. They say that the number of children brought to Colorado’s largest pediatric emergency department for ingesting marijuana by accident has nearly doubled to fifteen since last year’s total so far. They also believe that edibles are targeted toward children due to their forms often being child friendly food or desserts with similar packaging.
Another common critique is that teenage drinking is already a large problem. They pose the question: If the OLCC can’t control underage drinking, how is it supposed to stop underage smoking?
If the measure is passed, the commercial regulatory system of marijuana will be governed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). One will have to be 21 years old to receive a marijuana sales license from the OLCC, work at a licensed shop or buy from said shops.
A weight based tax will be collected on marijuana and marijuana products produced by licensees, and the OLCC will collect licensing fees as well. This money will go to funding the regulation and licensing of marijuana. Surplus money will be dispersed to other state institutions, with 40% of the extra revenue going to school funding.
The measure will not change “landlord-tenant matters, penalties for driving under the influence of intoxicants, marijuana laws applying to those under 21 years of age, any federal government grant or contract requirements, or state or federal law pertaining to employment matters.” The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and other current laws about medical marijuana will remain unchanged.