After finally legalizing recreational marijuana last week, Oregon dispensaries have accrued an estimated $11 million in sales. Instead of succumbing to procrustean federal law, Oregon has decided to legalize the medicinal plant and begin taxing recreational marijuana sales next year in order to help fund schools, mental health programs, and state police.
On October 1, Oregon legalized the sale of limited amounts of recreational marijuana even though the federal government still considers the drug illegal. Within the past week, adults 21 and over have been violating federal law by purchasing marijuana at medical dispensaries. Although the federal government considers marijuana a treacherous gateway drug, the American Cancer Society believes that classifying marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance only hinders vital research.
According to the Oregon Retail Cannabis Association, members statewide estimated collecting $3.5 million in sales on the first day of legalizing recreational marijuana. Within one week of sales, Oregon has made more than twice as much as Colorado, which sold $5 million in its first week of legalizing recreational marijuana. In its first month, Washington sold $2 million.
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"It's exciting," a customer named Peter told KGW. "It's just really weird, it feels like it's not even really happening to be honest, it's really bizarre."
According to a report last year in the American Journal of Public Health, suicide rates in males between the ages of 20 and 39 are reduced in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cannabis has been studied in the clinic and found that it may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of cancer therapies. Cannabis has also been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.
Recreational marijuana sales in Oregon remain tax-free until the end of the year. In January, a 25% tax will be added on in order to help fund schools, mental health programs, and state police within the cities and counties permitting recreational sales.
On Wednesday, the Michigan House approved the legalization of medical marijuana in a 95-11 vote. As House Bill 4209 heads to the Senate, the federal government will soon face the majority of states fighting to legalize a medicinal plant. Will we become witness to the end of the second Prohibition or will the insanity of Reefer Madness continue unabated?