Oregon Voters Decide to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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The midterm elections provided a large amount of change at the state, regional and national level. The elections of officials and passing of new measures will promote legislation that has struggled to advance in the past.
The most prominent of the new legislation was the passing of measure 91, which legalizes the use of recreational marijuana. This, according to Steven, an anonymous user at Marshfield, is the right move.

“It shouldn’t be a criminalized thing because most of them [users] aren’t robbing people for it,” Steven said. “They’re just going through a day in their own perception.”

According to Coos Bay Police Officer Hugo Hatzel, implications with usage will remain.

“There are still going to be rules and regulations for it,” Hatzel said. “For example, there were still restrictions on medical marijuana when it was legal, and I wrote citations for it.”

According to Ballotpedia.org, the bill allows citizens over the age of 21 to possess eight ounces of dried marijuana, as well as four plants. It also allows citizens to gift, but not sell, marijuana to others, and the laws take effect on July 1, 2015. The state is supposed to reregulate distribution, which will have an impact on how it was dispersed before.

“The prices are going to fluctuate. Ten dollars a gram isn’t going to be $10 a gram anymore. The price is going to fluctuate with the economy, where it didn’t when it was illegal,” Steven said.

There has been opposition from both sides to the legislation, as Steven said the prices may rise due to taxes. This has drawn some users to stay opposed, as well as many producers of marijuana.

“It’s also bad for the people who were trying to make a living off of it, because now that it’s legalized, there is going to be more mass production and the little people who are trying to make ends meet are going to be up against people who are able to mass produce perfectly rolled joints,” Steven said.

Steven said the largest benefit will come in the justice system.

“I think it’s going to be good in the long run because 12,000 people a year get incarcerated for having a little bit of weed on them,” Steven said.

Among the other legislation passed during the elections were ballot measures 87 and 89, which allowed state judges to work in other branches of government and required an equal rights amendment to be put in the state constitution. Ballot measures 86, 88, 90 and 92 were all turned down by Oregon voters. Yet, according to Steven, no other measure passed will have implications on the same scale as measure 91.

Hatzel said the police will adapt to the upcoming changes to the law.

“When the laws change, we just have to adjust our procedures,” Hatzel said. “Our duty remains to make the community a safer place for everybody.”