Oregon's marijuana measure struggles to gain widespread support, P.2

In our previous post, we began speaking about current efforts in several states to legalize marijuana. Washington, Colorado, and Oregon are all looking at the possibility. As we noted in our last post, though, while efforts seem to be making progress in Washington and Colorado, they seem to be struggling in Oregon.

Part of the reason for that is that Oregon's proposal takes things a bit further than the more modest efforts in Washington and Colorado. Washington's measure, for instance, would tax the sale of marijuana, which would be sold at state-licensed shops to customers 21 and older. That proposal, though, which is going on the November ballot, would decriminalize only small amounts of marijuana.

Oregon's Measure 80 would also permit the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults through state-license stores, as well as permit unlicensed adults personal use and cultivation. The measure would replace state and local marijuana laws, except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws. It puts no limit on the amount of marijuana a person could possess.

The measure has been opposed by nine former directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who have sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department asking it to oppose the measure.

While the current administration, under US attorney Eric Holder, has said it will not use federal resources to go after those complying with state and local laws, the passage of such a measure would not prevent federal prosecution. Those found to be in violation of state and local law could quickly find themselves facing federal prosecution.

It remains to be seen whether Measure 80 will be successful. If it is, it will be imperative for the marijuana using public to understand the law and how they can comply with it, particularly business owners. It will also be critical for those facing prosecution on marijuana charges to understand their rights as defendants.


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