Cascade Policy Institute’s Board of Directors recently voted to support the latest marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 91, which will be on Oregon’s November ballot.
While Cascade has always supported the decriminalization of cannabis on both philosophical and practical grounds, this is the first actual ballot measure in which the organization sees the positive features outweighing the negative features.
In response to this vote by the Cascade Board, Cascade’s President and CEO John A. Charles, Jr. released the following statement:
“There is a simple reason to support the Measure 91: consenting adults should be allowed to make informed decisions about cannabis use on their own, without undue interference by the state. Measure 91 promotes this goal through a formal sales licensing process as well as through the Section 6 ‘exemptions’ that allow small amounts of cannabis to be owned and exchanged by unlicensed individuals without taxation.
“That said, Measure 91 is not without flaws. One is the expansion of jurisdiction for the OLCC, a state monopoly that should have been abolished long ago. Taking on marijuana sales will make this agency more deeply entrenched than ever before, even though it is not a proper function of government to be in the business of selling either distilled spirits or marijuana.
“In addition, Measure 91 is clearly designed to be a revenue-raising measure, and the distribution of funds to schools, police, and other designated recipients creates a ‘moral hazard’ problem in which beneficiaries of taxation will have a direct stake in the future sales of marijuana. Over the past 30 years lawmakers have become increasingly dependent on lottery sales, as well as excise tax revenues from tobacco, distilled spirits, beer, and wine. Adding marijuana to that list is a step in the wrong direction.”
Despite these downsides, Charles stresses that Measure 91, on balance, is a sensible approach to cannabis possession, and worthy of voter support.