With Election Day just around the corner, voters in multiple locations will again be confronted with cannabis-related questions. Seven state legislatures appear to still believe that there is a medical use for marijuana despite a lack of agreement from the medical community. Legislation is pending in each of those states. “Medical marijuana” has simply been the camel’s nose under the tent, with the true goal of legalization covered up with a supposedly scientific approach.
Three states are now getting to the heart of the matter with outright legalization on the table. Colorado’s Amendment 64, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” will permit those over 20 to possess, use, display, purchase and transport limited amounts of marijuana. Washington’s Measure 502 would also allow limited possession of marijuana by those over age 20. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, Measure 80, would create the Oregon Cannabis Commission to regulate the sale and cultivation of marijuana for those over age 20.
In each case, there is a less-than-subtle approach to licensing and regulation, with excise taxes, fees and other revenue generating components representing a critical argument used in favor of passage. Proponents indicate that the Oregon Act will generate over $140 million in taxes, while Washington expects $350 million to expand state spending on drug education, prevention and treatment. Colorado’s bill indicates that the first $40 million raised each year will be credited to the public school and capital construction fund.
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