Measure 80; Oregon might be going Green

Why should I care: If this measure were to pass 90 percent of the money generated by taxing cannabis goes to a general fund, which according to OCTA2012.org (the main information website of Measure 80) includes sending a to be determined amount of money to Oregon’s public schools.  On the flipside, this measure proposes many different variables such as drivers under the influence of marijuana and people growing their own marijuana to avoid the taxation.

In 1921, people were crowding the streets, screaming for the end of Prohibition. The scene could be equaled again in the streets of the downtown Portland, not for alcohol, but for the legalization of marijuana.

One of the main regulations of the Cannabis Tax Act or Measure 80 is, that like liquor, to ensure the safety of children, you must be at least 21 years old to purchase marijuana. Why the age of 21 is being used is because of how the brain develops, and again like liquor, doctors have decided that 21 is an appropriate age for the brain to handle these chemicals.

Another thing the act intends to accomplish is shut down the black market of marijuana  business. According to octa.org, the campaign website of measure 80, “it might be improbable to completely shut down the black market, but it [measure 80] will dramatically shrink it.”

The main point of this measure though is to generate revenue for state funds. If measure 80 passes, it will eliminate the estimated 61.5 million dollars spent on law enforcement costs and take in 140 million dollars from taxing the purchasing cannabis. Ninety percent of the revenue generated will go to the state’s general fund, seven percent to drug treatment programs, and the other 3 percent to drug education in schools and the Oregon Hemp Fiber and Food Committee.

But with the legalization of marijuana comes complications according to Sargent Carrie Carver of the Lane county sheriff’s department. She told KVAL news in Eugene that “It presents too many variables. How do we handle drivers? How do we handle growers who get around the taxation of the plant? How do we get around the federal laws that are in place?”

Ultimately if this measure passes, Oregon may be the only state with legalized marijuana laws; but there is a possibility for these measures to also pass in Colorado and Washington. Over the years, Oregon has taken steps in cannabis law reform, but we’ll find out Nov. 7 if Oregonians are ready to take the next step.