July 1, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) At midnight on Wednesday, celebrations ensued when the recreational use of marijuana became a legal activity in Oregon. Joining Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and the District of Columbia in lifting marijuana prohibition, Oregon law now views the plant as equivalent to beer and wine.
Hailed as a victory by advocates, the law follows popular opinion that has increasingly found fault with criminal penalties for possession.
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Under the state’s law, up to eight ounces of weed and up to four plants for personal use are permitted at home. Possession of an ounce or less in public won’t bring any penalty, but smoking marijuana in public will—though the State has advised the public against calling 911 should that happen.
Legalization is a win for criminal justice reformers, as well, as 7% of all arrests in Oregon were for simple possession and often heavily targeted minorities. Courts and jails can expect relief from the burden of countless minor marijuana offenders.
“It supports people who want to succeed in society,” said Anthony Johnson of the law he co-wrote. “There’s no reason we should saddle people with crimes on their record that prevent them from having good educational and employment opportunities.”
Lawmakers are working on legislation to allow the clearing of convictions for offenses that are now legal.
“Marijuana prohibition has been a costly failure—to individuals, to communities, and to the state,” said Tamar Todd, policy director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Oregon is taking a smarter, more responsible approach to marijuana that ends the wasteful and racially disproportionate practice of arresting and citing people simply for possessing a small amount of marijuana.”
Retail carrying weed won’t open until next year since regulations pertaining to sales are still being written.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission released the following rundown of the new law:
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