On Thursday October 1, Oregon became the third state to make recreational marijuana legally available to those over the age of 21. The legalization occurred earlier than originally planned due to the complexity of the compromise involved in the legalization bill.
Oregon joins Washington and Colorado as the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, with Alaska and the District of Colombia to join the number soon. Oregon’s legislation has an interesting compromise, allowing cities where the majority of the residents oppose legalization to ban sales of marijuana all together.
The State did not want to force communities opposed to selling marijuana, particularly those in rural Oregon, to sell the drug. A compromise was reached. To date, six counties and 13 cities have opted to ban the sale of marijuana with one county and eight more cities to vote on the issue in November 2016. In return, the State allowed sales of marijuana in the rest of the state to begin on October 1.
Oregon had legalized medical marijuana sales a decade prior to recreational legalization, allowing for a fairly smooth transition. Several stores opened their doors at midnight, allowing eager customers to take full advantage of the early start date. To add to customers enthusiasm, sales of marijuana will be tax-free until January 2016, as the state is not yet ready to issue retail licenses, according to reports by the Oregonian. This saves buyers up to 20%.
Views on marijuana have evolved dramatically over the past decade and millennials play a huge role in that change. National support for the legalization of marijuana has jumped to 53%, a massive increase from the 32% for legalization in 2006.
Of those who support legalization 41% believe that the drug offers medicinal properties, 27% believe that it will lead to an increase in government tax revenue, and 9% think that the government should not prevent people from using the drug if they want to.
In 2016, several states will vote on the legalization of marijuana including Ohio, Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, California, and Massachusetts.