A new study estimates that legalizing marijuana in Oregon could produce $38.5 million in new taxes annually. That’s equivalent to less than one-half of 1 percent of the state’s general fund budget of $8 billion a year. But the projected revenues are also nearly a quarter of the entire budget of the Oregon State Police. The study estimated that about 1.3 million ounces – the equivalent of about 86,000 pounds – of marijuana would be sold through the legal market in the first full year. At an average tax rate of $28 an ounce, that would produce $38.5 million for the state in fiscal year 2017, says the study. The measure would tax producers $35 an ounce for the most potent parts of the marijuana plants, $10 an ounce for leaves and $5 for immature plants sold to home growers. In contrast, Washington levies taxes at all levels of sales and production, producing legal prices reaching over $700 an ounce, according to the ECONorthwest study. Oregon’s tax rate is much lower, to the point that prices on this side of the border could be as low as $145 an ounce, the study says.
While in Colorado on Wednesday, Chris Christie said he’s “not backing off an inch” from his previous comments against the state’s decision to legalize marijuana. “What I said is what I believe,” the New Jersey Republican governor said. “I think legalizing marijuana is the wrong thing to do from a societal perspective, from a governmental perspective.” While medical marijuana is legal and highly regulated in New Jersey, Christie has repeatedly said he will not support legalizing the recreational use of pot, often warning that he doesn’t want his state to end up like Colorado. “It’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey,” he said in an April radio interview, spurring a wave of headlines. Asked by reporters if he still believes legalized marijuana makes life worse for Coloradans, Christie said, “I do think it diminishes the quality of life, that’s my opinion. It doesn’t mean that Colorado’s not a great place,” he added. “I’m sure it is. I think it would be greater if you didn’t legalize marijuana.”
Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday filed an amendment in the Senate that would protect states that implement medical marijuana laws, as well as patients and physicians in those states, from federal prosecution. Paul’s Amendment 3630 allows states to “enact and implement laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use” without fear of federal prosecution. There are 33 states that have enacted laws protecting some form medical marijuana – to date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Another 10 have legalized CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis frequently used to treat epilepsy, for limited medical use or research. The amendment also prohibits prosecution of patients and physicians in those states for violating federal laws against the drug. Due to ongoing partisan gridlock in the Senate, it appears unlikely that Paul’s amendment will get a vote.
Five Oregon home-based, day-care centers are owned by people who have medical marijuana cards, officials said, prompting Gov. John Kitzhaber to say they should have to choose between their business and their pot. The state Office of Child Care has long viewed medical marijuana use as a private health matter that isn’t disclosed to the general public or parents of children at the centers. Providers have conditions attached to their care licenses allowing them to use marijuana as long as they lock up the drug and paraphernalia, avoid smoking it in front of children, and have another adult present while under the influence. The state, however, changed course following media scrutiny. Parents of children at the five centers were notified last month that the owners had pot cards, and the names of the centers were made public.
There’s a new campaign in Denver to try to prevent overdosing on marijuana edibles. The state had recommended 10 milligrams of THC per dose. Now a new campaign is going with even less, especially for those new to pot edibles. Representatives from Colorado’s marijuana industry gathered on Wednesday to unveil a new campaign. It’s called “First Time 5″ — as in, take just 5 milligrams of THC in marijuana edibles for beginners. Many marijuana edibles were sold in 100 mg packages. Now edibles are coming in smaller doses. One organization is passing out cards that warn to start with one serving and then wait because it can take up 2 hours to feel the effect. The goal is to get signs in as many dispensaries as possible and educate those behind the counter to recommend that amount as well.