What Oregon Can Learn from WA MJ Legalization
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What Oregon Can Learn from WA MJ Legalization
Posted by CN Staff on July 13, 2014 at 09:46:09 PT
By Anna Staver, Statesman Journal
Source: Statesman Journal
Oregon -- Soaring prices, supply shortages and overwhelmed regulators are three takeaways from Washington’s roll out of its retail marijuana system that Oregon advocates hope to improve upon should the state legalize the drug in November.“You are starting a brand new industry from scratch, so there are definitely hurdles to get over and lessons to be learned,” said Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner for the campaign to legalize marijuana in Oregon.
Washington allowed licensed shops to start selling recreational marijuana to people 21 or older Tuesday, but hiccups in the state-crafted system initially kept the doors closed on all but a handful of locations.That’s one of the most important lessons, Johnson said. “We need to look at regulating and licensing growers and processors first, so there is an adequate supply when regulated sales begin.”Washington’s Liquor Control Broad, which oversees the state’s marijuana sales, didn’t expect the avalanche of applications it received from potential growers.Overwhelmed investigators have licensed less than 80 growers out of more than 2,600 applicants.Some of those licensed producers are still growing their first crops, others failed to clear regulatory hurdles and much of the harvested marijuana is still awaiting laboratory testing.The agency has also issued business licenses to 24 out of a possible 334 stores.The limited supply pushed prices to $25 per gram — well beyond what marijuana sells for on the black market.Washington’s law includes a 25 percent excise tax on marijuana at each point of sale (i.e. grower, processor and retailer) on top of an 8 percent sales tax.That means the tax revenue generated from retail pot sales will fluctuate as the price of marijuana rises and falls.“In Oregon, the excise tax will be according to the amount that’s sold,” Johnson said. “You’ll pay $1.25 per gram (in taxes) whether the price of a gram is $10 or $100 ... We feel we have a more stable tax.”He likes that Washington’s Initiative 502 focused heavily on the revenues that would be raised for schools and public safety. The ballot initiative submitted by New Approach Oregon dedicates money for mental health programs, schools, addiction services and law enforcement.If Oregon legalizes recreational marijuana this November, it will become the third state in the nation behind Washington and Colorado, both of which passed ballot initiatives in 2012.Johnson said Oregon should have an easier time crafting regulations than Washington because the Oregon Health Authority has already developed a system for regulating medical marijuana dispensaries.“In Washington, the medical program is not regulated by a state agency,” Johnson said. “They had no experience as a state in regulating marijuana sales.”Oregon also has the advantage of seeing what works and what doesn’t, Johnson said.Colorado requires store owners to grow at least 70 percent of their product while Washington prohibits retailers from growing.“We will provide them the option to grow or not grow,” Johnson said. “That’s one example where we feel we’ve taken the best from both measures.”Business as usual for the Oregon State Police:The legalization of recreational marijuana sales in Washington state hasn’t changed how Oregon State Police conducts its day-to-day patrols.“It’s business as usual,” said Lieutenant Gregg Hastings, spokesman for OSP. “Obviously there is a high concern for people driving under the influence, whether it’s alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. That’s something we will continue to be very vigilant on.”Source: Statesman Journal (OR)Author: Anna Staver, Statesman JournalPublished: July 12, 2014Copyright: 2014 Statesman JournalContact: letters statesmanjournal.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on July 13, 2014 at 14:56:21 PT:
 What Oregon Can Learn from WA MJ Legalization?
Not hire someone named Kleiman to plan your operation. Unless, of course, you deliberately want it to fail.
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Comment #1 posted by observer on July 13, 2014 at 14:04:12 PT
Un-Learn Gov't Pork Lies; Re-Learn Free Markets
re: What Oregon Can Learn from WA MJ Legalization... 
Again, free markets - typified by farmer's markets - aren't difficult to figure out. We simply need to get government out of the way. Government hirelings are always good at making more work for themselves in the form of laws, regulations, etc. The game is eternal and endless, and worse when too many play along with governmental pretenses for more government. That's what we see here, mucho. Government pretending something is oh-so complicated and dangerous, (using fear as a tool against you) - when the complications and dangers are entirely government-generated. Par for the course.Farmer's markets. Get government guns out of the situation, and simply let adults use (grow or sell) cannabis. Like they once could.
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