Legal marijuana retailers open in Colorado: What is next for Oregon?

Marijuana strain "Lambs Breath" grown in Oregon. With recreational marijuana use legalized in Colorado, University of Oregon students weigh the constraints of the current Oregon legislature. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Marijuana strain "Lambs Breath" grown in Oregon. With recreational marijuana use legalized in Colorado, University of Oregon students weigh the constraints of the current Oregon legislature. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Posted by Jennifer Fleck on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 12:00 pm.

Stores across Colorado opened their doors and began selling marijuana legally starting on the first day of 2014.

According to The Denver Post, 37 licensed stores across Colorado were allowed to begin selling at 8 a.m.

“In terms of legalization in Colorado, I think it’s a step in the right direction. The only real way we stand a chance of getting the federal ban repealed is to have the states fall in line one by one,” said Michael Butler , a current resident of Boulder, Colo. and former University of Oregon graduate student.Colorado democratic representative Jared Polis continues to push for the federal legalization of marijuana. In a statement released on Jan. 1 Polis said, “By regulating marijuana like alcohol, Colorado voters hope to reduce crime and keep marijuana away from kids. I applaud Colorado’s efforts to implement the will of the voters and will continue my work to pass H.R. 499 to regulate marijuana like alcohol federally.”

H.R 499 or Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act 2013 “directs the Attorney General to issue a final order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.”

Though stores in Denver opened on the first, Butler hasn’t frequented any.

“Despite Boulder being full of nothing but college-age stoners, we aren’t getting any proper recreational retail locations until February or so there,” he said.

Oregon’s own attempt at marijuana legalization, Measure 80, failed to pass when on the Nov. 2012 ballot. According to the Portland Tribune, advocacy groups for the legalization of marijuana in Oregon hope to get a legalization initiative on the Nov. 2014 Ballot.

“I’d say that there is a harder fight ahead than a lot of the legalization advocates think,” Butler said. “Most of them seem centralized in Eugene and Portland, the two cities in which I have seen more drug use (weed and otherwise) than anywhere else I have lived. The rest of the state is more traditionally conservative, and changing their minds may actually take longer than simply waiting for those against legalization to die.”

UO senior Jasmin Zech said about the possibility of legalization in Oregon, “I feel like there are a lot worse things that are legal. If they did make it legal I think it would reduce crime and make the state money.”

“It ruins the lives of young people caught with it. Legalization would stop that and boost the economy,” said UO junior Kelsey Ketcham.

Aug. 14 2013, Governor John Kitzhaber signed House Bill 3460, an act for medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon. According to the bill, the “Oregon Health Authority shall establish by rule medical marijuana facility registration system to authorize the transfer of usable marijuana and immature marijuana plants.” The registration system will go into effect March 3, 2014.