Today, Oregon’s full Senate voted in favor of two measures which would significantly reduce the penalties associated with possessing, and even manufacturing marijuana. The Senate voted 22-7 to approve Senate Bill 40, and voted 18-11 to approve Senate Bill 82. Both measures now head to the state’s House of Representatives for consideration.
If Senate Bill 40 becomes law, some of the primary changes would be:
- Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana would be reduced to a Class B violation, punishable by a fine of $260 (currently it’s a misdemeanor that carries with it a fine of $1,000).
- Possession of one to four ounces of marijuana would be reduced to a class Class B misdemeanor, punishable by maximum of six months in jail, and a $2,500 fine. Under current law, possessing anything over an ounce is a felony that can garner up to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $375,000.
- Possession of anything more than four ounces would be reduced to a maximum of five years in prison and an $125,00 fine, compared to 10 years in prison and the above-mentioned $375,000 fine.
- Manufacturing marijuana would be reduced to a Class B felony, punishable by maximum of 10 years in prison – currently cultivating any amount in Oregon, if not a qualified patient, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
In addition to this measure, Senate Bill 82 also passed through the Senate. If approved, this measure would ax the current requirement that someone caught possessing up to an ounce of marijuana have their driver’s license suspended.
Both of these bills, though not perfect, are significant steps forward that would undoubtedly effect the lives of thousands in a positive way. Oregon residents should be spreading the word of these measures, and contacting their elected officials, urging them to vote in favor.