Timothy

OLCC dropped the ball

In a shining example
of government bureaucracy,
the Oregon
Liquor Control Commision
has simultaneously
screwed law
enforcement, recreational
marijuana users,
taxpayers and law-abiding dispensary
owners.
You’ll be able to possess and smoke pot
come early July, but outside of growing it,
there is no way to legally procure weed until
late 2016.
According to Measure 91, best known as
the recreational pot bill, applications to sell
and produce marijuana will not be available
until Jan 4, 2016. These applications won’t
be processed until late 2016. So essentially,
for the year and a half between when weed is
legalized, and when dispensaries can legally
sell it, the OLCC is insuring that a projected
25.5 to 40 million in tax revenue goes directly
into the coffers of the black market.
Regardless of whether or not you support
recreational marijuana use, this a huge
bureaucratic mistake. If you can remember
back, a huge piece of the “consolation prize”,
was that pot was going to be taxed, and that
that tax revenue was going to schools, law
enforcement and mental health. Estimates
state that the Bend’s allotment of the education
portion will be enough to hire 16 full time
teachers.
In fact, the taxation of marijuana in Colorado
has been so successful, that Colorado
might be forced to refund 30 million in marijuana
tax revenue, thanks to a bill passed in
1992 called The Taxpayers Bill of Rights,
which puts a cap on the amount of tax revenue
the state can collect. OLCC is insuring
that our potential revenue can only be found
lining the pockets of those who sell marijuana
under the table.
Dispensaries are capable of selling recreational
marijuana today. According to Kevin
Fehrs, owner and operator of The Good Leaf
Organic Collective, a local medical marijuana
dispensary, all he would need to do is apply a
tax in the point of sale system, and he would
be good to go. There is worry about the origins
of marijuana, but he also adds that the
average dispensary grows at least 80 percent
of its own product, and has a very good idea
of where the other 20 percent is coming from.
It’s not that the systems aren’t in place to sell
recreationally today, but rather for whatever
reason, OLCC has decided, in some ill-conceived
effort, to attempt to put off the inevitable.
According to Measure 91, the selling of
marijuana will be illegal for the next year and
half, but the gifting of marijuana is okay. So
where does that line get drawn? Perhaps a
dealer and a customer exchange ‘gifts’? How
is law enforcement supposed to combat such
a gaping loophole, let alone prosecute anyone
who is committing a crime that will be obsolete
in matter of a year or two?
In one incredible oversight, or perhaps
through deliberate bureaucratic stupidity, the
state government and OLCC, has tied lawenforcement’s
hands, screwed taxpayers,
hampered law-abiding dispensary owners and
funded dealers instead of education to the tune
of 40 million dollars. Nice work guys.

 

 

Tim Cachelin | The Broadside
(Contact: tcachelin@cocc.edu)

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