If it moves

Considering Oregon’s history, I’m surprised this idea didn’t come up sooner.

The Oregon Legislature’s latest idea for a tax? Medical marijuana.

The state would take over growing and distributing marijuana to patients in the medical-marijuana program under a bill introduced Wednesday.

Oregon approved marijuana use for medical purposes a decade ago. Around 20,000 residents are allowed to use it at present.

I’m for the legalization of marijuana, but also recall the Supreme Court decision of a few years ago. Are you telling me people in Oregon are using marijuana they are breaking federal laws? I know the decision applied to it being prescribed by a doctor but there’s this more recent news about a raid on clinics that grow the stuff. Is the state of Oregon defying Federal law, or is just not being prosecuted? Someone feel free to educate me.

Sponsored by Rep. Ron Maurer, R-Grants Pass, House Bill 3274 imposes a $98-per-ounce tax, which would cover the state’s cost of operating and securing the production center.

“I’m not a pot guy, but the water’s under the bridge. That’s not the issue,” Maurer told The Oregonian newspaper. “Let’s not even discuss that. Let’s discuss is the program working? The answer is unequivocally no, that the program is not working.”

If the growing of marijuana isn’t working in a non-governmental way, how will it work with the state growing the pot? We all know how efficient government run enterprises are.(Cue the sarcastic laughter)

Maurer and three co-sponsors think the bill would improve public safety by eliminating private medical-marijuana grow sites. Some private growers have been accused of illegally selling marijuana to those who don’t have cards; other sites have been targeted by burglaries and home invasions.

There’s some crime related to any business enterprise, but that doesn’t mean the government should be running it.

As for safety, just through the reports of drug busts in places like Pot St. Lucie*, I know that the grow houses do use a great deal of electricity and there are potential fire hazard problems. Instead of the state taking over the growing of pot, why not permit and inspect the sites that do and crack down on any illegal operators?

A bill co-sponsor, Rep. Chris Harker, D-Beaverton, told the Statesman Journal newspaper that the measure “takes medical marijuana off the streets and into a safer and more secure environment.”

Current law allows registered patients to possess six mature cannabis plants, 18 immature seedlings and 24 ounces of usable cannabis. In 2004, voters rejected a measure that would create state distribution centers.Since voters rejected what Hawker is proposing now, I think this legislation is a moot issue. The article clearly states it is a long shot.

*- Actually a South Florida community called Port St. Lucie. There have been many stories of grow house busts in that community, I gave it the nickname ‘Pot St. Lucie’.

Life in Florida XXIII
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