Come July 1, it will be legal to possess and use marijuana recreationally in Oregon. But in the eastern town of Pendleton, recreational marijuana smokers might not want to hit the bong too hard once legalization hits.
The municipal authorities have labeled the smell of marijuana a nuisance and plan to fine residents should the scent travel to a neighbor's property, KNDO of Yakima, Washington, reported Wednesday. Pendleton reworked its nuisance ordinance -- which deals with problems like loud music or barking dogs -- to include marijuana smell, the station reported. The resulting fine could cost marijuana smokers up to $500.
The ordinance change is intended to prevent marijuana growers from causing overwhelming scents for neighbors, but police could also enforce the rule on homeowners, according to KNDO. "It gives us some tools to be able to force people to figure out a different way to legally process their marijuana," said Pendleton City Manager Robb Corbett. A local citizen reportedly told the city council that a medical marijuana grower had left a scent on his property.
Marijuana possession and use will become legal in Oregon for people over 21 on July 1, although legal retail sales are not expected until the fall of 2016. While Pendleton might take in relatively small amounts of money from fines, the state as a whole is still working on its tax structure for legal marijuana. Legislators unveiled on Monday a proposal to implement a sales tax on marijuana, instead of the voter-approved harvesting fee, reported Oregon Live in Portland.
The harvesting fee would have collected $35 per ounce on marijuana flowers and $10 per ounce on leaves. While the sales tax rate isn't yet known, the change is intended to better account for fluctuating prices. Legislators also proposed having medical dispensaries, which already are legal, temporarily sell recreational marijuana while retailers get up and running, reported Oregon Live.