Cannabis was legalized in the state of Oregon one year ago and there have been a number of important milestones reached along the way. Oregon residents are buying lots of marijuana and those sales are boosting tax revenues. However, the eastern half of Oregon, where these regulations remain unpopular, has yet to see a significant spike.
When it comes to the effects of cannabis legalization in Oregon, it has been a mixed bag. Increased tax revenues have had positive effects, but the state has also experienced a major uptick in marijuana-impaired drivers, as well as calls to the Oregon Poison Center from those who found themselves to be over-served.
Now that the state allows anyone over the age of 21 to cultivate their own marijuana, the state has also begun the process of establishing an official marketplace, complete with tracking from seed to sale. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important takeaways from Oregon’s first year with legal marijuana.
Customers Have Come Out In Droves
Recreational marijuana is sold to Oregon residents with a taxation rate of 25 percent, while medical marijuana remains mercifully untaxed. With over $60 million in sales, the state was able to collect nearly $15 million in additional tax revenues. These numbers do not include the revenue derived from concentrates and edibles. Business is brisk, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
More Drivers Under The Influence
The state has seen a surge in drivers who are found to be under the influence of marijuana when they are pulled over and the overall number of impaired drivers for all substances increased by 7 percent. Oregon plans to combat the issue by training officers to recognize the warnings signs involved with cannabis-impaired driving and there has also been an increase in the number of drivers combining marijuana and alcohol.
Public Health Risks Still Unknown
Cannabis legalization is expected to have an impact on a number of medical and insurance regulations, but until all of the data has been gathered, Oregon remains at a standstill in this regard. The different types of marijuana that are being purchased and the effects of teen consumption still need to be studied further. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has given the state a federal grant that will be used to further the level of knowledge on these topics.
The Continued Presence of Old Marijuana Cases
There is a multitude of Oregon residents who are suffering the ill effects of old marijuana-related cases that are looking to have their cases tossed out. Oregon legislation has since passed a new law that does not remove these convictions from the person’s record but does allow them to claim that they have never been convicted of a crime on an employment application.