This November votes will get to decide if the City of Klamath Falls should continue its ban on the regulation and sale of recreational cannabis within the city limits. There has been a lot of hyped rhetoric and scary claims put forth the in the debate, so let’s just examine the facts.
First, a YES vote on Measure 18-112 would end the current ban on the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. The Measure allows to the city to zone and control the number of establishments, it sets strict penalties for sales to minors, it enables the city to tax and use those dollars for schools, law enforcement and other purposes.
Today the surrounding communities of Chiloquin, Lakeview, Talent, Phoenix, Ashland and Medford have all passed ordinances regulating cannabis sales. It is estimated that allowing regulated cannabis sales here would generate 100 jobs and $350,000 in new taxes each year, revenue and economic resources that are now going to our neighbors. This does not count the
jobs and sales created by ancillary businesses that support the cannabis retail stores. Last year the State of Oregon collected $85 million in cannabis tax revenues. None of this money is currently coming to Klamath Falls because of the ban.
What is NOT on the ballot is whether cannabis should be legal for adult use. That ship has sailed; the voters in Oregon and surrounding states have had their say. Cannabis is legal for medicinal or recreational use by adults. Nowhere in the state is it legal for use by minors, nor will it be in this city ordinance. Measure 18-112 does nothing to change that. The only question on the ballot is whether we are going to ban the sale, force law abiding citizens into the black market to purchase cannabis and send jobs and revenue to other communities.
Second, let’s put an end to the hysterical claims about the dangers of cannabis use by adults.
Cannabis has not been show by verified research to be a “gateway” drug, nor has there been a documented death from an overdose of cannabis, a hard claim to make for alcohol, cigarettes or prescription opoids.
Regulated retail businesses cannot sell cannabis to minors under 21. Experiential data from Colorado, Alaska, and Washington State has shown a slight decrease in cannabis use by minors when lose interest after legalization.
There is no evidence of an increase in traffic fatalities or a reduction in workforce readiness.
What we do see with retail cannabis regulation is the immediate shrinking of the cannabis black market by more than two-thirds.
Canada and Uruguay have totally legalized the cannabis industry. It is time for Klamath Falls voters to steer around and through all the hype and make a rational decision. Responsible regulation of cannabis can coexist and be part of our strong economic development, healthy community, good schools and skilled workforce.
Vote YES on Measure 18-112!
Attorney at Law
City council member Ward 1