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Politics & Government

Oregon Votes To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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Oregonians have voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults. Washington DC also voted in favor of a pot measure. Oregon’s new law goes into effect in July of next year.

Excited college students gathered on the sidewalk outside the Measure 91 victory party.

Inside medical marijuana patients mingled with lawyers, retired policemen, and pot activists.

"Yes" campaign director Anthony Johnson thanked his volunteers and the voters and called legalization a more humane approach to drug policy.

“Our new policy is one with more justice, more revenue for our state, and most importantly more freedom and more equality,” he said.

Congressman Earl Bluemenaur stopped by to to show his support.

“This means that the marijuana reform train has left the station. Oregon will help lead the way. We will have other states that will be following.”

Blumenauer—who won re-election easily-- pledged to work to reform federal laws that have made banking and paying taxes challenging for marijuana businesses.

Oregon’s law goes into effect July of next year. It allows adults 21 and older to grow, possess, and sell marijuana and directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to regulate the industry.

While Washington has already legalized marijuana, it remains federally illegal to transport it across state lines.

The US Department of Justice has advised that in states that legalize marijuana, federal prosecutors should focus on preventing minors from using it and prosecuting those who drive while high.

The law would not make changes to Oregon’s existing medical marijuana program. Almost 70,000 people have medical marijuana patient cards in Oregon.

And several turned up at the celebration, including a card holder who only give his first name, Josh.

“I do have my aches and pains and go to acupuncture and massage. Having access to high quality flowers and oil has helped me in my life.”

So, will Josh give up his medial card when pot is legally available in Oregon for recreational use?

“I think maybe I will keep it just as a safety blanket.”

Josh thought for a minute and then said: "I don’t need to be paranoid anymore. You can use my last name. It’s Cohen.”

 Copyright 2014 OPB

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