Legalize it? What Measure 80 could mean for Oregon

Legalize it? What Measure 80 could mean for Oregon »Play Video

Watch this site and KVAL News@6 on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, for more on this story

EUGENE, Ore. - Cannabis, marijuana, pot - whatever you call it, living in Oregon we're always hearing about it.

Right now, it's considered an illegal substance unless you have a medical marijuana card.
But on Nov. 6 that could potentially change if voters pass Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.

"Right now marijuana is totally unregulated," said medical marijuana user Jim Greig. "This would set up a system of distribution and regulation similar to alcohol."

Greig, who is also a member of Oregonians for Safe Access, said Measure 80 would increase public safety while creating a series of regulations around the growth and sale of cannabis.

"Right now it's easier for a high school kid to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol, this law would change that," said Greig.

According to the pro Measure 80 website, the tax act would ensure marijuana is only sold to adults over 21 and save the state money in cannabis related law enforcement and judicial costs.

"It would change the way that a lot of law enforcement agencies do business," said Sargent Carrie Carver with the Lane County Sheriff's Office.

LCSO along with the Oregon State Sheriff's Association and every other sheriff's office in the state oppose Measure 80, according to Carver.

"Basically Measure 80 would legalize marijuana and hemp in Oregon, and it's illegal federally, so there would be a conflict there," she said. "It would put our laws in conflict with other laws that we're bound to right now."

Carver said the measure would also put Oregon out of compliance with the federal Drug Free Workplace Act.

"It changes how we train our people, it changes a lot of things," she said. "How would you handle impairment levels? How would you handle driving? How would you handle you know, where people are allowed to grow? There's so many different variables."

And ultimately it will come down to Oregon voters to decide whether they want to see it legal.

"If it's going to be recreational, then let's slap a tax on it and have people pay for it just like they do alcohol and cigarettes," said Eugene voter Marilyn Ward. "I'll probably vote yes. It’s just like alcohol or cigarettes. I don't approve of either one of those, but that's not the point really."

Other voters have a different opinion of Measure 80.

"I don't feel that it should be legalized and second of all," said Eugen voter Brenda Broadsword. "I would be against it because of another tax. I don't think we need another tax on anything."