Rapid Response: How will legal marijuana change Oregon? – Statesman Journal
As of July 1, marijuana will be legal for recreational use by adults in Oregon.
Now that we’re close to that eventful day, we asked our Rapid Responders to give their crystal-ball look at Oregon’s future: Will this be good or bad for Oregon?
For example, will this create more problems for law enforcement, or will police be freed up to focus on higher-priority issues? Will substance-abuse addictions increase, or possibly decrease because of how people treat marijuana?
What they said
With commercialization of this product, the illegal trade will no longer generate immense profits, so law enforcement will be able to refocus on higher priority issues.
Will abuse still occur? Yes, but no more than alcohol, tobacco, or other also legal stimulants.
— Ken Simila, Salem
Good for government coffers, bad for Oregon’s youth. Too broad. Next we’ll have whiskey Pepsi, beer milkshakes and nicotine doughnuts.
— Wally Gutzler, Woodburn
I can see how police would be free to focus on more important issues. Look at Amsterdam; it’s sold in shops there and it’s regulated. People can use it freely, therefore causing fewer problems for police. If it’s legal, people will buy it, which means more money for businesses. As long as people choose to use it in a smart way, I see no problem with it.
— Tina Blacksmith, Salem
Given the restrictions and limitations placed on how much weed a person can have and where they can smoke it, I’ll wager that we’ll still see a black market for weed because some people simply cannot tolerate the notion of someone telling them how much weed they can have, where they can smoke it, or charging them taxes for it.
— Dorian Atkins, Salem
Addictions will increase and with the legalization of pot, now the druggies will start howling about legalizing all sorts of other drugs (i.e., cocaine, heroin, meth).
— Cheryl Eby, Salem
In the long run, Oregon will be better off. It’s similar to post-Prohibition. Bringing the drug trade into the sunlight will reduce criminal element, increase “sin tax” revenue, generate jobs and remove major distraction for law enforcement. I’m sorry, Mom. (My mom just rolled over in her grave as she would strongly disagree with me.)
— G. Mick McLean, Lincoln City
To join the other liberal states in such an action will haunt us in the future. Many in the mental health field see marijuana as a gateway drug. The time will be short when we know the results of legalization.
— Jim Jaqua, Keizer
A growing concern is the extreme amount of sunlight needed to cultivate the plants. This means lots of indoor light is needed, which will use a ton of energy and harm the environment unless marijuana is grown on a small scale.
I voted to legalize because this is a first step toward prison abolition as fewer folks would be incarcerated for non-violent offenses.
— Jonathan David Grindell, Salem
If the letter of the law is followed, most of us won’t see much difference. Legal recreational use is restricted to those over 21 and only in the privacy of homes. Law enforcement won’t get a break as I expect problems with public use, use by those under 21, increased driving while under the influence, and illegal suppliers. Legal retail sales are not expected until fall of 2016.
— Richard Pine, Salem
More delayed drivers’ reactions, more learning and motivational issues with students, more unemployable people, more panhandling, but to name a few. What could possibly go wrong?
— Henry A. Weitz, Salem
The “war on drugs” has been a total failure. Taking marijuana off the list for law enforcement frees up time to deal with more serious crimes. Let’s be real — marijuana has been widely available and consumed for decades. Better to get it safe and taxed, than under the surface.
— Paul Krissel Salem
Stronger pot means more trouble for drivers. New procedures need to be in force for traffic police and drivers under the influence.
— Merv Brenes, Dallas
Everyone will be high. No one will do anything. Humans will cease to exist.
— David Haber, Salem
It will be good in the long run, allowing law enforcement to focus on real crimes, and putting fewer people in prisons for minor crimes. Bringing marijuana out of the shadows may even allow more research into the medicinal benefits of the plant and lead to legalization of growing industrial hemp, a plant of many uses.
— Dale Derouin, Dallas
It’s difficult to answer a question that calls for either-or answers as if the use of Cannabis were a black and white issue. The medical usage of marijuana holds promise for good. But I think legalizing a powerful medicinal substance for recreational use could prove to be problematic with unintended consequences in our future.
— Sunny Mills, Keizer
If you believe in the rule of law, it is needed for controlling illegal drugs. Prohibition showed what happened with alcohol. When reinstated, the legal manufacturers made sure they controlled the market by reporting illegal manufactures. There will be confusion at first, but overall it will be good for Oregon.
— Chuck Sides, Salem
Alcohol is legal, “for recreational use.” Look at all the problems it creates. Now we have another reason for people not having to accept responsibility. “He was drunk, he did not mean to do what he did.” Now it is,“I’m sorry. I was high on marijuana. I didn’t mean it.” Sob, sob. “Please don’t send me to jail.”
— Kent Wilson, Salem
I think that legalizing marijuana for recreational use was a huge mistake. I think it is going to present a big problem for law enforcement. Because if you are stopped now for driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer can administer a breathalyzer test on the spot. No such test is available for marijuana. So this will take the officer additional time take someone to a test.
— Larry R. George, Salem
It’s going be great — if you’re a toker! Fortunately, since MJ is against federal law, employers can still screen out MJ users. But for the rest of the society it will have many unforeseen consequences. It won’t help the police; probably even make their jobs more difficult, e .g., DUI cases. Look around and see how many layabouts are out there now. Their numbers will no doubt increase. Phooey!
— Woody Tiernan, Dallas
Another drug, just another great idea from the liberals. This will solve all the crime problems and addictions for our state.
— Roger Vasend, Salem
If the rules are clearly written and the businesses and consumers protected from tainted products and criminals stealing from the businesses. a huge money-making enterprise, black market and pot growing in our forests should be reduced.
— Ann Watters, Salem
I believe we will regret this decision. There are enough temptations for us to deal with right now. Adding this drug use as a legal option has no positive outcomes that I can see. We are fooling ourselves if we think there will be no personal or societal consequences.
— Neal Jones, Salem
It will not take a crystal ball to predict how drug use will affect Oregon. Just look at the last six or more mass murders, and many more before that. Drugs are the nexus for violence. Marijuana may be mild, but it is now a lot stronger. Ban drugs, not guns.
— William K. Dettwyler, Salem
Marijuana is already widely used in Oregon without devastating results on the public. Increased access is bound to result in higher incidents of traffic violations, but it should reduce profits for criminals. Overall there will be little change, good or bad.
— Navarro Faircloth, Salem
All I see are the taxes being collected from this. I am all for it and really, the people who smoke it will get it anyhow; might as well tax it. More money for the tax-and-spend liberals.
As for law enforcement, leave the smokers alone as long as they don’t smoke while driving, just like alcohol. They have better things to do than go after smokers, which is a total waste of taxpayer money.
— DeWayne Wilson, Hubbard
Booze and pot prohibition doesn’t work. Alcohol and marijuana have been used since humans discovered their pleasurable effects. People smoke pot illegally anyway, so little will change in Oregon when it’s legal. Arresting minors for smoking pot will have the same police priority as citing them for smoking cigarettes now.
— Patt Wilson, Keizer
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