Last Update: October 31, 2014
Oregon mail-in ballots are out; vote “yes” on Measure 91 to treat marijuana like alcohol
Election Day is approaching, but there’s no need to find your polling place in Oregon; it’s a vote-by-mail state! Registered voters should have received a ballot in their mailboxes within two weeks of the election. Appearing on the ballot will be Measure 91, the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act. Voting “yes” on Measure 91 will allow adults 21 and older to use, possess, and grow a limited amount of marijuana free from state penalties. Additionally, it will set up a system of regulated cultivation and retail sales to adults 21 and older, similar to the law in Colorado. If you are interested in more information on the measure, please visit the Yes on 91 campaign site. For more information on the measure, please see our summary of Measure 91.
Marijuana prohibition’s days appear to be numbered, but polls indicate the results of Measure 91 will be very close. Do your part by making sure you’re properly registered to vote, and then be sure to vote “yes” on Measure 91 when you receive your ballot.
Much congratulations to the team at New Approach Oregon for getting this sensible policy change on the ballot. Please visit their website for more information on the campaign.
Success in Salem in 2013
The 2013 session was quite a successful one for marijuana policy advocates in Salem. Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law a bill adding PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program. He also signed two bills into law that reduce the penalties for possession of marijuana: one reduces the maximum sentences for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, and the other eliminates the practice of suspending driving privileges for someone found in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
In addition to these proposals, local advocates were able to pass HB 3460 — a bill to allow medical marijuana facilities to obtain marijuana and immature marijuana plants from and sell marijuana to medical marijuana patients and their designated primary caregivers. Gov. Kitzhaber signed HB 3460 on August 14, making Oregon the 14th state (plus D.C.) to create a regulated medical marijuana dispensary program. Many thanks go to Sam Chapman and Oregonians for Medical Rights who orchestrated the lobbying effort to see this bill through.
Marijuana laws in Oregon
Arrests for marijuana possession are still happening across the state, despite the fact that Oregon decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana over 40 years ago. Unfortunately, these arrests (and citations) disproportionately affect minority communities. According to the ACLU, African Americans in Oregon are more than twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as their white neighbors. Additionally, the cost of a marijuana possession citation is excessive. Currently, an individual who possesses up to an ounce of marijuana could be levied with a typical fine of $650! In comparison, in 2008, Massachusetts’ voters chose to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by replacing their state's past criminal penalties with a $100 civil fine. For the same offense, Oregon penalizes its residents more than six times as harshly as Massachusetts.
For more information on the current legal status of marijuana, as well as information on use rates, arrests, and other helpful information, please see Marijuana In Oregon, authored by Dr. Jon Gettman, Ph.D.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana policy reform in Oregon, you can contact MPP at email@example.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service today.