Wednesday, September 30, 2015 415.823.5496 Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
MARIJUANA SALES BEGIN IN OREGON THURSDAY
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Given Head Start Before Other Stores
Oregon Becomes First State to Expunge Prior Nonviolent Marijuana Records
Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2014 with Measure 91, is beginning sales tomorrow, Thursday October 1st. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be permitted to get a head start on sales before other, non-medical stores, which are expected to open in Fall 2016. This will ensure existing medical marijuana retailers have an opportunity to fairly compete in the new market as it emerges in the next several years. About 200 of the 345 medical shops have registered to expand their sales to all adults and expect a significant increase in profit margins.
“Tomorrow Oregon becomes the third state to be able to control, regulate and tax marijuana by making sales of the drug legal,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. “If we were to apply this same logic to heroin and other drugs so that people with addictions knew what they were getting, we’d not only see the public safety improvements we’ve seen in Colorado and Washington, we’d see thousands of lives saved every year.”
On June 30th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 3400, which not only created specific regulations for tracking plants from seed to sale to ensure consumer safety and vendor accountability, but it will also expunge thousands of prior marijuana records for nonviolent offenders.
“Millions of Americans face lessened life opportunities because of arrest and conviction records,” said Major Franklin. “Oregonians should be proud of the strides they have made to restore justice to those who should never have been arrested or incarcerated for marijuana in the first place.”
As of July 1st of this year, adult possession and home cultivation were permitted. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants and keep eight ounces at home, and to possess one ounce. Public consumption and sales will continue to remain illegal. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4th, 2016, and recreational retailers are expected to be operational later the same year.
Four states have thus far legalized and regulated adult use. Oregon’s regulatory model has been developed with Washington and Colorado’s successes and failures in mind. Alaska has not yet begun legal sales. Among the marijuana regulation priorities for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission are preventing accidental ingestion by children with the use of appropriate childproof packaging, and ensuring that extracts, concentrates, and edibles are carefully regulated, tested, and labeled.
LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have created dangerous underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction.