Marijuana legalization in Oregon going to a vote

New Approach Oregon petition officially certified by Secretary of State

Members with the group New Approach Oregon turned in more than enough signatures to get legalization of marijuana on the November ballot, July 22, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Members with the group New Approach Oregon turned in more than enough signatures to get legalization of marijuana on the November ballot, July 22, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Oregonians will have the chance to decide the fate of marijuana legalization and taxation in November.

The New Approach Oregon campaign was able to generate enough signatures to qualify the measure, which would regulate, tax and legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, for a spot on the November 4 statewide election ballot, the Oregon Secretary of State confirms.

The measure, officially called the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Hemp Act, would allow for licensed manufacture and sale, as well as ensure the safe distribution of the drug.

“This is our moment to be part of history and lead a movement,” said Dominique Lopez, New Approach Oregon’s metro regional organizer.

“Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, but together we can win a more sensible approach and better the lives of Oregonians.”

Washington, which officially opened its doors to licensed marijuana growth, sale and distribution July 8, has reported $318,000 in revenue for the state thus far.

Thursday, June 26, New Approach Oregon submitted 145,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office in Salem — well over the amount needed for the measure to qualify.

Currently, marijuana use is permitted in Oregon, but more than 10,000 people are arrested in the state each year for marijuana related offenses, according to a statistic from Oregon State Police.

Those behind the drive to get it on the ballot now said their goal is to help register hundreds of thousands of voters.

Asked if they can win without a successful voter registration, New Approach Oregon’s Lopez said, “We will be winning alongside a successful voter organization effort.”

They are confident of victory and said Oregon is even more prepared than Washington to sell legal marijuana.

“There will not be supply problems like Washington because the OLCC, learning from Washington, knows you need to license, regulate and audit growers before you regulate the stores and implement the stores,” said Anthony Johnson, the Chief Petititioner for New Approach Oregon.

Oregon already has a regulated medical marijuana system, like Colorado. Supporters said that will make the transition much easier than in Washington.

That is, if voters approach the ballot measure.

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