More than 10,000 people from Klamath County signed a petition to legalize marijuana in the state of Oregon. As the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1973, Oregon now is attempting to become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use with Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which is set to appear on the November ballot.
According to the legislative initiative, the measure would regulate cannabis cultivation and consumption for adults over the age of 21, with commercial sales through state-licensed stores.
“This will generate a tax revenue for the state and dramatically eliminate the marijuana black market, making it extremely difficult for minors to obtain it,” said Roy Kaufmann, spokesman for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act campaign.
If the legislation is passed, 90 percent of tax revenue, a projected $140 million annually, would go toward the state’s general fund, which will make up 23.3 percent of the 2012-13 state budget. The other 10 percent of tax proceeds would go toward funding drug education programs throughout the state, drug treatment programs and endorsing Oregon’s hemp food, bio-fuel and fiber industries, according to a press release.
“Cannabis regulation will be similar to current alcohol laws and regulations,” Kaufmann said. “Individuals who violate the regulations, including consumption in public, driving under the influence of intoxicants and providing cannabis to a minor, will face similar penalties for violations involving alcohol.”
The legislation also states the measure would drastically eliminate a majority of the $61.5 million the state of Oregon currently spends on cannabis law enforcement, corrections and judicial costs.
Signatures from Klamath County made up 6 percent of the 165,000 signatures required to have the initiative appear on the November ballot.