What Will Happen if the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Passes?

Mon, Oct 22, 2012

Criminal Law, Marijuana

Come November the Presidential Election is not the only thing people will be voting for in Oregon. For many locals, the vote will also give them a chance to express their feelings on an issue that always causes controversy and which has been argued about across the US and around the world, for many years – the legalization of cannabis. The Cannabis Tax Act is a new state law that would govern the use, growth and sale of cannabis (weed or pot) and change the way the law has worked for the last few decades.

The idea of the new law is to bring in more safety and less crime when it comes to drugs. Oregon residents are being given the opportunity to vote on a new approach to the ‘war on drugs’, an approach that many think will cause a sharp drop in black market activity and related crime and bring more safety to the end user. In essence the law would work in a similar way to the current laws that monitor and restrict the sale (and consumption) of alcohol; it would legislate and regulate the controlled sales of cannabis to adults of a certain age. The legislation being proposed will, if passed, allow for the growth and cultivation of marijuana on a commercial basis and for the sale of marijuana to adults aged over 21 in state licensed premises. These sales would of course be taxed and would bring in an estimated $150 million that could be used for the treatment of drug addiction across the state and could also fund a drug education program across the schools of the state.

The new law would also permit the legal growth and use of marijuana for adults at a personal level – something that is a massive change from current Oregon laws on cannabis. As the law stands at the moment, anyone found in possession of marijuana either on their person or in their home will be charged with a criminal offence. For example, you would currently be charged a violation if you were found to be in possession of less than an ounce of cannabis, or of delivering the same amount. You would be given a class C misdemeanor for possessing less than an ounce whilst being within 1000ft of a school. It is a class B felony offence to possess more than an ounce of cannabis and it is a Class A felony offence for dealing cannabis to a minor. It is also a class A felony offence to manufacture cannabis within 100ft of a school.

The new act doesn’t aim to overturn all of these elements and anything involving minors will not be changed at all. However, the act does aim to get rid of the small penalties dished out for possessing small amounts of cannabis that are clearly for personal use by consenting adults.

That being said the police have made clear that until the law is passed, it should not be viewed as an excuse to start buying, selling or possession cannabis without fear of prosecution.

Esther is a consumer blogger who writes about all things financial and legal affecting the consumer, She covers everything from loans and mortgages to  insurance and a personal injury glossary



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