SALEM, OR — April showers could bring legal cannabis flowers to Oregon if bill that would legalize marijuana possession and create a state-regulated system of legal marijuana commerce passes the State Legislature.
House Bill 3371, also known as the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Cannabis Act, was introduced earlier this month by the House Committee on Revenue and has been scheduled for a hearing April 2 at 1:00 pm by the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill would legalize the possession of up to six plants and 24 ounces of marijuana “on the premises” of non-commercial home grows, the same amounts allowed under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, for adults 21 or older. The bill does not otherwise set possession limits, but leaves them to the Oregon Health Authority to regulate.
House Bill 3371 would not prevent employers from prohibiting the manufacture, delivery, possession or use of marijuana in the workplace.
The bill would also legalize industrial hemp.
Under the bill, the Oregon Health Authority would be charged with licensing marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers, with the tax set at $35 an ounce. Marijuana commerce would include “edibles.”
The money would go to a “Cannabis Tax Account,” with 40 percent of proceeds going to schools and 20 percent each to Oregon State Police, the general fund, and services for mental health, alcoholism and drugs.
If passed, the bill would go into effect July 1, 2014.
“Soon, we may have our neighbor to the north collecting tax revenue from Oregon residents, when Oregon should be collecting that revenue,” said Anthony Johnson, director of New Approach Oregon, a new political action committee formed by a coalition of groups seeking legalization of marijuana and hemp in Oregon. “Marijuana is safer than alcohol, and it makes sense to regulate it like alcohol.”
Last year, a marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 80, was barely defeated at the polls, gaining 47% of the popular vote.
Oregon activists are currently debating whether to move forward with another initiative in 2014 or wait for the next presidential election in 2016.
But if the legislature acts on HB 3371, Oregonians may not have to wait even that long.