ONTARIO, Ore. — Voters in Ontario, which borders Idaho, approved the recreational sale of marijuana, unofficial election results show.
The ballot initiative approves the sale of recreational marijuana within Ontario city limits with an imposed 3 percent sales tax. It gained 1,904 votes in favor and 1,450 votes against, according to election results Wednesday morning from Malheur County.
The ordinance will take effect Jan. 1, when Ontario business owners will be able to apply for a license to sell recreational marijuana.
Statewide legalization of recreational or medical marijuana was on the ballot in four states Tuesday, with initiatives passing in Michigan, Utah and Missouri and failing in North Dakota. Klamath Falls, Ore., also passed a ballot initiative for the legalization of recreational marijuana within city limits.
Oregon legalized marijuana in 2015 but allowed cities and counties to opt out. MalheurCAN!, a pro-cannabis advocacy organization led by resident Jim Forrester, secured 825 signatures from voters this summer for the initiative to be on the November ballot.
Forrester said he was not surprised that the ballot initiative passed.
“We put a lot of effort into making sure we educated people about the issues and engage the community enough to understand what effect it will have,” he said. “I am happy it’s finally coming to Ontario and feel like it’s going to do a lot of good things.”
The legalization of recreational marijuana, Forrester said, will make a positive impact in revenue, job production and reduction in crime as a result of cutting off the underground market for the drug.