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Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow Why the rush on legal pot?

Why the rush on legal pot?


We didn’t expect the proponents of legalizing marijuana would surrender after their defeat at the Oregon ballot box last November.

But we didn’t figure on the Legislature taking up their cause so soon.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to discuss, during a public hearing April 1, House Bill 3371. It would allow people 21 and older to keep as many as six mature marijuana plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana. The Oregon Health Authority would license pot producers, processors, wholesalers and sellers, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would collect a tax of $35 per ounce from growers. The state would dole out the tax revenue by this formula: 40 percent to schools, and 20 percent each to the State Police, state general fund and services for mental health, alcoholism and drugs.

The main effect of this bill, were it to become law — besides, of course, giving OLCC the sort of intoxicating power the likes of Al Capone could scarcely have dreamed of — is to disenfranchise the 923,000 Oregonians who voted “no” last November on Ballot Measure 80.

That measure, like House Bill 3371, would have legalized marijuana use for adults.

Measure 80 failed, with 53.2 percent of voters opposed (the margin was much greater in Baker County, with 64.4-percent opposition).

The measure gained a majority of “yes” votes in just four of the state’s 36 counties — Benton, Lane, Lincoln and Multnomah.

Yet less than five months later, lawmakers are thinking about thwarting nearly a million of their constituents.

We don’t understand why this is a priority — nor, it seems, do legislators, as, according to a story in The Oregonian, nobody in Salem is copping to being House Bill 3371’s sponsor.

Separate groups intend to bring the issue back to voters in November 2014 or November 2016. The voters have had their say, and the Legislature should allow them the chance to do so again.

 
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