Comparing Marijuana Legalization Measures In Oregon, Colorado and WA

Oregon Joins Colorado and Washington in voting on marijuana legalization this election.
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History was made late Friday as the Oregon Secretary of State announced that the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act turned in enough valid signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot. Oregon joins Washington and Colorado in voting for marijuana legalization this year, the first time in history three U.S. states will put the legalization question to voters.

Beginning with California’s original Prop 19 in 1972 through California’s latest Prop 19 in 2010, every previous attempt to legalize marijuana in America has ended in defeat. In the forty years since that first attempt, there have only been eight statewide legalization measures to make the ballot in just five states (Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, California, and Oregon).

Here is a look at the three legalization measures to be put before the voters in the November 2012 election:

Comparing Oregon, Colorado, & Washington Legalization Measures**[i]**

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[i] This table has been updated to better explain the Colorado excise tax (hat tip: Steve Fox of Amendment 64 Campaign).

[ii] OCTA only specifies that commercial cultivation and sales must be licensed by OCC and that personal cultivation and sales need not be licensed. Presumably, you could grow a football field of plants and possess a large Hefty Bag full of pot under OCTA, so long as you sold none of it.

[iii] All hemp production still remains illegal under federal law without a DEA permit.

[iv] I-502 producers and processors may not have a direct or indirect financial interest in retailers.

[v] Colorado’s TABOR requires any tax increase to go before a vote of the people. 15% is merely the maximum authorized wholesale excise tax that the legislature may enact.

[vi] Washington’s medical marijuana law has no registry cards and only an affirmative defense to prosecution. Thus, medical marijuana patients can now be arrested by police, and then they have to provide an affirmative defense to the judge. Under I-502, these patients would now be protected from arrest for 1 ounce of cannabis, 16 ounces of medibles, or 72 ounces of tinctures.

[vii] Updated to clear up confusion that a ballot initiative was the only process by which a locality could ban marijuana business. It is not; localities may ban through their regular local governmental procedures.

[viii] Added — I missed this portion in first reading Colorado’s Amendment.

Article fromNational Cannabis Coalitionand republished with special permission