Oregon lawmakers to consider legalizing pot

Credit: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: A budtender pours marijuana from a jar at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries and to order them to close or face legal action. The council also voted to instruct staff to draw up a separate ordinance for consideration in about three months that might allow dispensaries that existed before a 2007 moratorium on new dispensaries to continue to operate. It is estimated that Los Angeles has about one thousand such facilities. The ban does not prevent patients or cooperatives of two or three people to grow their own in small amounts. Californians voted to legalize medical cannabis use in 1996, clashing with federal drug laws. The state Supreme Court is expected to consider ruling on whether cities can regulate and ban dispensaries. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)


by Tim Gordon, KGW Staff


Posted on March 20, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 20 at 1:55 PM

Do you agree with lawmakers who want to legalize marijuana so Ore. can regulate and tax it for recreational use?

SALEM – A bill that would legalize marijuana and authorize the state of Oregon to regulate and tax it for recreational use will get a public hearing early next month. 

House Bill 3371 is on the agenda of the House Judiciary Committee for April 2.

The bill as it’s written will allow the production, processing and sale of marijuana and marijuana infused products.

Cannabis would be taxed at $35 an ounce, and be sold at outlets licensed by the state.

Some state lawmakers feel it is time to formulate a plan for the eventual but inevitable legalization of marijuana.

“It looks like legalization is on the way, and so we want to look at how we can best draft a law like that. Now I don’t know if we can pass anything this session, but we’re going to take a look at it and see how it can works best for the citizens of Oregon," said Rep. Jeff Barker, (D) Aloha, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The debate is sure to be robust, before any vote to legalize marijuana.

Rep. Wally Hicks (R) Grants Pass, is also on the House Judiciary Committee, and is concerned about legalizing marijuana on several levels.  

“My concern about taxing, is that if you put a tax on it that exceeds the black market price, then you’ve done nothing to address the black market,” said Hicks, who also thinks states should not interfere where federal anti-marijuana laws are in place.

But pro-marijuana groups are pleased the legislature is considering the issue seriously.

“I think this bill is the kind of approach that we want to show to lawmakers and say, 'Look, we want to do this comprehensively. We want to do this the right way,'” said Roy Kaufmann, who represents Marijuana Police Project. His group plans a 2016 initiative vote to legalize marijuana in the state.

The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association is against legalization.