Way to go, Oregonians.
Backers of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) have turned in over 165,000 signatures for a citizen inititive that would legalize marijuana and allow its sale in state-licensed stores. That's almost double the 87,213 needed to be on the November ballot.
I support OCTA not just because I'm an ex-pot head from my college days.
It makes zero sense to spend so much money in the law enforcement and legal system trying to stop people from using an herb that is demonstrably safer and more beneficial to human well-being than alcohol.
Currently we're in a period akin to the similarly stupid attempt to prohibit alcohol consumption.
Back then Al Capone and other gangsters made huge amounts of money from giving people what they wanted. Now, its Mexican drug cartels and other bad guys who reap the rewards of idiotic marijuana laws.
Much better to regulate and tax marijuana. Over 300 economists have signed a petition urging consideration of marijuana legalization.
Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalization in America. The petition draws attention to an article by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, whose findings highlight the substantial cost-savings our government could incur if it were to tax and regulate marijuana, rather than needlessly spending billions of dollars enforcing its prohibition.
Miron predicts that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement, in addition to generating $2.4 billion annually if taxed like most consumer goods, or $6 billion per year if taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco. The economists signing the petition note that the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition are just one of many factors to be considered, but declare it essential that these findings become a serious part of the national decriminalization discussion.
Best of luck in November, Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.
The initiative should have a decent chance of passing, even given predictable opposition from law enforcement types who would see part of their legal fiefdom diminished. Libertarian-leaning Republicans and Independents, though, should support OCTA.
The November ballot measure that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana — Initiative 502 — is breaking some of Washington’s political molds, according to a poll released Tuesday.
I-502 is leading by a 50-37 percent margin, according to Public Policy Polling, a lead that is built on an unusual three-legged stool of support from young voters, male voters and a libertarian-minded chunk of Republican voters.
Maybe this year the West Coast will start a wave of enlightened marijuana policies that will sweep eastward.