Homeowners’ associations cannot legally ban their members from using marijuana in their homes in states where it is legal to do so, but some HOAs are attempting to do just that, claiming that marijuana use is a nuisance, reports the Gazette. If people can see or smell their neighbor using or growing marijuana, their HOA has the right to regulate it as a nuisance or child risk. Richard Thompson, who runs a management company that concentrates in homeowner associations in Portland, related these regulations to others made in Oregon. “The fact that people may be legally entitled to smoke doesn’t mean they can do it wherever they want, any more than they could walk into a restaurant and light up a cigarette.”
According to Thompson, neighbor conflicts have increased with regards to marijuana use recently. More marijuana users keep their windows open and smoke outside during spring and summer months, prompting many complaints from neighbors. A Brighton, Colorado resident recently discovered this after he planted a hemp plot. The homeowners’ association took issue with this and ordered him to get rid of it or face a fine. Though he tried to explain that hemp was not marijuana, he was still turned down. He then sold his plants to hemp activists rather than throwing them out. The activists offered to pay his homeowner fines instead, but the resident opted to live peacefully with his neighbors. He said, “I had people calling up and saying, ‘It’s just a shame; we’ll pay your fines all the way through to the end.’ But I decided in the end not to fight it. At the end of the day, I live here.”
New Approach Oregon’s petition to make marijuana legal for adults has qualified for the ballot this coming November, Huffington Post reports. More than 87,000 valid signatures were collected for the petition, which allows adults age 21 and older in Oregon to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana privately and one ounce in public and would have the marijuana market regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Any sales taxes collected would be distributed to schools, law enforcement, and drug prevention programs.
It is very likely that this initiative will pass in November, with a recent poll stating that 57% of Oregon’s likely voters support making marijuana legal for adults. A similar measure was nearly approved in 2012. In addition, the governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, has stated that he would uphold the will of the people if the bill makes it to his desk. In January, he commented on Colorado and Washington, “I hear the drumbeats from Washington and Colorado.” He said, “I want to make sure we have a thoughtful regulatory system. The legislature would be the right place to craft that.”
A ballot initiative in Oregon is gaining support and local marijuana policy reform advocates describe it as their “number one priority,” the Oregonian reports. New Approach Oregon is working in conjunction with Drug Policy Alliance and others to raise awareness of their campaign to pass the ballot initiative, which would allow adults to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana. Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission would regulate and oversee the market. Dave Kopilak, an attorney who helped to draft New Approach Oregon’s initiative, claims that if it is passed, Oregon will have lower taxes on marijuana than Washington or Colorado.
Revenue generated by the adult retail market that went to the state would be distributed to a variety of public health and safety programs: 40% would go to the common school fund, 20% to mental health and addiction services, 15% to state police, 10% to cities’ law enforcement, an additional 10% to local county law enforcement, and 5% to drug abuse prevention services. If it qualifies for the ballot, the initiative will be up for a vote in November.
The movement to make Oregon one of the next states to make marijuana legal got a major boost Wednesday when the petition to put the question on the ballot received 100,000 signatures, reports Gant Daily.The measure is backed by New Approach Oregon (NAO), which reported the collected signatures exceeded the minimum 87,213 required to qualify for the ballot on Monday. The ballot initiative, called the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act, would strictly regulate marijuana sales and possession for adults over 21 years old. If passed, it would allow for possession of up to eight ounces and growing up to four plants. Sales of marijuana would be taxed at $35 an ounce and $5 per plant.
The ACLU of Oregon has thrown its support behind the petition. Their executive director, David Fidanque, commented, “We need to stop wasting taxpayer dollars arresting and searching people in Oregon just because they use marijuana. Prohibition hasn’t worked and it never will. It’s time to be honest about that and take a path that makes sense.” This was in response to a recent ACLU report, which claimed that Oregon’s law enforcement had stepped up its marijuana citations and arrests by 45% since 2001. This was the fifth highest in the nation. The NAO believes this endorsement will help them to get the ballot initiative passed in November.
Facing a reelection race in Oregon this fall, Portland Rep. Earl Blumenauer aired a television ad on April 25 focusing on marijuana legalization. Blumenauer’s heavily Democratic district lends him an easy reelection, but that hasn’t diluted his fervor to advocate for his signature issue.
In the ad, Blumenauer points out how “our marijuana laws don’t work and cost the government billions.” Later, he calls for the federal government to “let states set their own laws — tax it, use the money to fund education and let the police focus on real drug abuse.”
It is unclear how many ads he plans to run, but Blumenauer said he plans to spend six figures on campaign advertising that will broadcast not only in Oregon, but online and in other states, drawing national attention to the issue.
Blumenauer said the purpose of his ad isn’t just about reelection — it’s about transparency and letting his constituents know what he is doing in Congress. In a response to releasing the ad, Blumenauer told The Oregonian that, while he appreciates letting the states move forward on marijuana laws, the Obama administration is doing the “absolute least the federal government can do.”