Oregon legislators moved methodically yesterday to ensure that when Oregonians take a drag on their first legal recreational-marijuana cigarettes or plant their first legal seeds today, that they have the full weight and force of the state behind them, reports the Salem Statesman Journal. The first bill sent to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk will create an overall framework for the legalization of recreational marijuana, said Geoff Sugerman of the Oregon Cannabis Political Action Committee. The second bill creates a tax structure for recreational marijuana that would begin next year. Sales would be tax free until Jan. 4, 2016. Then the statewide tax would move from producers to retailers, and would be 17 percent statewide with local governments (city or county) having the option to add up to 3 percent more, for a 20-percent tax.
Sugerman said this is significantly less than the taxes applied in Washington state and Colorado, two of the other three states where recreational marijuana use is legal. (Alaska is the third.) “This tries to bring small and large producers into the industry, and keeps with the idea of making small producers part of the legal movement,” Sugerman said. Probably the most important bill in the bunch would make it legal for recreational marijuana users 21 and older to buy their product from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries beginning Oct. 1. This would give consumers in the state a legal sales venue until Oregon has its system for recreational marijuana retailers up and running next year.