greenbuddha Posted July 25, 2012 Report Share Posted July 25, 2012 US OR: Editorial: Full-Bore Legalization Get Active Subscribe Support Us URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n358/a05.html Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm Votes: 1 Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jul 2012 Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Copyright: 2012 The Register-Guard Contact: http://www.registerguard.com/web/opinion/#contribute-a-letter Website: http://www.registerguard.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/362 FULL-BORE LEGALIZATION Oregonians to Vote on Wide-Open Marijuana Measure For years, political debate over marijuana has focused on medical uses of the drug. That's going to change. An initiative measure has qualified for Oregon's November ballot that calls for wide-open, no-holds-barred marijuana legalization. The efficacy of marijuana laws and the effects of their repeal will be debated head-on. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would allow anyone to grow and possess any amount of marijuana for personal use. Any amount - no limit. For those not interested in growing their own, the measure would create a state agency that would certify marijuana growers, purchase their crops and distribute the drug to state outlets for sale to any buyer 21 and older. There's more: The measure creates a legal distinction between marijuana and hemp - one is a drug, the other is a crop that can be used in the manufacture of fabrics, oils and other products. The state would be forbidden to regulate hemp. Most of the state's profits from marijuana sales would go to the general fund, but a small portion would be used for drug education, treatment and the promotion of industrial uses of hemp. Oregon's measure goes beyond the measures that will be on the November ballot in Colorado and Washington state, both of which would legalize possession of marijuana in amounts of 1 ounce or less. In Oregon there would be no limit. The campaign will hinge on arguments that proponents of legalization have been making for decades. They say legalization would drive criminal enterprises out of the marijuana business. They say marijuana could become a significant source of state revenue, like alcohol and tobacco. They say police could concentrate on fighting other crime. They say hemp could become the basis of mew agricultural and value-added industries. Oregonians didn't buy these arguments in 1986, when voters rejected, by a 3-1 ratio, a measure to allow the cultivation and possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use. That was a long time ago. But other states' more recent legalization proposals have also failed, though by closer margins - 59 percent rejected a Colorado measure in 2006, and 54 percent opposed a 2010 California initiative in 2010. The long-standing arguments against legalization will also be heard again. Opponents say that making marijuana less expensive and more widely available would increase its use, adding to the problems created by other legal drugs. They claim marijuana can cause physical and mental harm, especially in the potent forms that have become common. They point to the likelihood that minors would find it even easier to obtain marijuana than it is now. And they warn that marijuana, legal or illegal, is a gateway to harder drugs. In addition, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would be squarely in conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act. The federal government has mostly turned a blind eye toward states' medical marijuana laws. No such half-hearted response to Oregon's full legalization would be possible. The sponsors will have to explain why Oregon should invite a collision with the federal government, or show how it might be avoided. Oregon can expect an influx of out-of-state money to finance the campaigns for and against legalization. And the nation will be watching to see whether a state that is often in the vanguard of changes in public policy will enact the world's most libertarian marijuana law. MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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