Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jul 2010
Source: Statesman Journal (Salem, OR)
Copyright: 2010 Rick Ritter
Author: Rick Ritter


Senate President Peter Courtney describes the most recent state
revenue forecast as a "Pearl Harbor surprise." The governor has
ordered an across-the-board 9 percent reduction in state spending.

Both the senator and the governor know that there is an alternative
tax available that would provide a major chunk of income to the state,
but it would take a good bit of political courage to start the
discussion. Maybe it's time to do so.

We already derive state income from "sin" taxes on tobacco, alcohol
and gambling. The major "sin" that we cannot control and do not derive
any revenue from is smoking pot.

California is going to vote on legalization of marijuana in November.
Sen. Courtney should place a measure on the Oregon ballot in November
that we also legalize marijuana. Make it contingent on the California
measure passing. If theirs fails, then ours fails. If theirs passes,
ours passes.

Let the Senate and the House debate this. Work out the problems and
get it on the ballot. Give the people of Oregon a chance to decide
whether they want to bring some order and control, and gain some
income from, the private recreational use of pot.

Rick Ritter, Salem
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake