Marijuana possession and cultivation penalties in Oregon have been cut in half thanks to Gov. John Kitzhaber's signature on two bills earlier this week.
Kitzhaber Monday signed SB 40 and SB 82, which eases marijuana penalties in the state for those caught with over an ounce and eliminates a provision that suspends driver's licenses for possession of less than one ounce.
Senate Bill 40 lowers the penalty for the possession of more than four ounces from a Class B Felony with up to ten years in prison to a Class B Misdemeanor with a maximum of five years in jail. The penalty for possession of between one and four ounces was also dropped from a Class B felony to a Class B misdemeanor, with a maximum jail time of six months.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The bill also takes on concentrates, making the possession of a quarter ounce of hash a misdemeanor, dropping it from a felony. Cultivation is also addressed, though the penalty was dropped from 20 years to a decade in prison - still way too long for people to be jailed for growing a plant.
Senate Bill 82 addressed Oregon's marijuana possession law that took away driving privileges for those caught with a little bit of pot, even though less than an ounce of herb is a misdemeanor with no jail time and up to a $1,000 fine. SB 82 eliminates that absurd law from the books for anyone caught with an ounce or less, though the driving suspension remains for those caught with more than an ounce.
The Oregon legislature is still in session, and today will be debating House Bill 3460, which would legalize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. Many activists in the state have also said that legalization proposals are on their way.