Momentum toward marijuana policy reform in Oregon!
It is a busy and exciting time for marijuana policy reform in Oregon, following the near-loss of Measure 80 on the ballot last fall. Several marijuana-policy reform bills are now working their way through the state legislature. House Bill (HB) 3371 would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults 21 and older. Senate Bill (SB) 281 would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.
With HB 3371 under consideration, this is great time to encourage your representatives to embrace regulating marijuana like alcohol. Please send an email in support of HB 3371 to your legislators.
In addition to this action in the legislature, the Marijuana Policy Project is also very busy laying the groundwork in Oregon to end marijuana prohibition at both the state and local levels. We will be building a broad coalition of supporters and conducting public education activities around the state. To that end, MPP has engaged a prominent political and communications consultant, Roy Kaufmann, to lead the charge in the Beaver State.
If you are interested in being involved in these efforts, please send an email to email@example.com.
2012 election results
Measure 80 – a ballot measure that sought to repeal Oregon’s marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system of taxation and regulation – failed to pass on election night. According to the Oregon Secretary of State, the measure was defeated 53% to 47%. Although the measure was defeated, it received more support from Oregon voters than did Measure 74 in 2010, which sought to create a medical marijuana dispensary program and was only supported by 44.21% of the voters.
Measure 80 wasn’t the only electoral decision that had implications for the future of Oregon’s marijuana policies. To the question of state representation, Democrats took back control of the Oregon Legislature, giving hope to those who have been longing to see a medical marijuana dispensary program pass the legislature. In addition, Ellen Rosenblum – a friend of medical marijuana – won the race for attorney general.
Now that Washington and Colorado have both passed initiatives to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, other states will surely follow suit. The Yes on Measure 80 campaign did a wonderful job highlighting the important need to change and laying the foundation for a constructive conversation.
Marijuana laws in Oregon
Although Oregon has decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, having replaced criminal penalties with a civil fine, the cost is still excessive for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Currently, an individual who possesses up to an ounce of marijuana could be levied with a fine of up to $1,000! In comparison, in 2008, Massachusetts’s voters chose to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by replacing their state's past criminal penalties with a fine of only $100. For the same offense, Oregon penalizes its residents up to 10 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service today.