Financial Impact Statement for Oregon legalization initiative released

Oregonians will cast their votes on the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 on November 6, 2012. The Oregon Secretary of State, Kate Brown, has released the Financial Impact Statement that will appear in voter pamphlets, stating that many of the impacts of Measure 80 are “indeterminate.”

The official “Final Financial Impact Statement” suggests increases in expenditures of “$22 million per year” for “Operation of the Commission” (a newly created commission under the measure, the Oregon Cannabis Commission”) which will oversee the licensing and regulation of psychoactive cannabis produced, processed and distributed through licensed stores. While the statement indicates that potential revenue under the act is “indeterminate”, it does suggest that revenue will be “sufficient to cover expenditures” by the Commission.

Further increased costs of approximately $1.6 to $3.3 million are anticipated for State Courts, based on the prohibition of “disclosure of names and addresses of applicants, licensees, and purchasers of cannabis” except on request, to redact names and addresses from any court cases “prior to allowing them to be viewed by parties to a case, the public or the media.” However, the statement states that impact to local government, local law enforcement, district attorneys, and the courts is “indeterminate.”

The measure requires consultation with the Board of Pharmacy on a variety of issues, including establishing any “practicable” level for determining impairment. The Board of Pharmacy has estimated their need to fulfill these requirements as “one half-time pharmacist” costing about $75,000 per year.

The statement also indicates a decrease in spending in felony convictions of approximately $1.4 to $2.4 million per year. The statement concludes overall that state expenditures may increase $22.3-23 million per year, but that state revenues are “likely sufficient to cover expenditures.”