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Oregon Will Vote On Marijuana Legalization On November Ballot

Marijuana Plant

This November, Oregonians will have a chance to vote on an initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use:

(CNN) - A citizen-led petition to place legalization of recreational marijuana on the November ballot in Oregon obtained enough signatures, making the Beaver State the next place pot could be legally sold, bought and consumed.

More than 88,500 people signed the petition, enough to place the initiative before voters on November 4.

If passed, Oregon would become the third state to legalize pot after Colorado and Washington to allow recreational use of marijuana. Another 21 states, including Oregon, allow the use of medicinal marijuana.

“This is our moment to be part of history and lead a movement,” said Dominic Lopez, metro regional organizer for New Approach Oregon, the group that organized the petition. “Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, but together we can win a more sensible approach and better the lives of Oregonians.”

This is will be the second time in two years that voters in Oregon will vote on legalization. In 2012, a similar initiative was on the ballot but, unlike the measures in Colorado and Washington that year, the measure failed to pass. Notwithstanding the fact that the issue failed just two years ago by some 113,000 votes, there is some indication that it may succeed this time around. For one thing, the fact that supporters were able to get the matter back on the ballot this quickly notwithstanding the defeat indicates a strong level of support. For another, the experiences in Colorado and neighboring Washington seem to have turned to the tide in the Beaver State, with the most recent poll showing a legalization measure passing by some ten points. 

Oregon will not be the only state considering marijuana legalization this November either. There will be a similar measure on the ballot in Alaska as well. There doesn’t appear to be any recent polling on the measure, but a poll conducted back in March showed majority support for the idea.

So, by November, we could have two more states where marijuana is legal.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Oregon really hasn’t enforced marijuana laws for years. Possession is only a violation like a jaywalking ticket and is by law the lowest priority of local police. Oregon was also the first state to legalize Medical marijuana and if your doctor approves you can get it for just about anything. I think it will pass this time.

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  2. Ron Beasley says:

    I might add that the main reason the prohibition of alcohol was repealed is that the government needed the tax revenues. I suspect the same thing may apply here.

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  3. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Good. It will create competition and lower prices, which are mob rates in WA just now as they figure it all out. The WA system is way too greedy, and the limits placed on growing are not realistic. Weed is not booze. It is not even aspirin. Regulating it as such is designed only for profits.

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  4. JohnMcC says:

    It occurred to me that 88K signatures is kind of a low number to put a ‘citizen’s initiative’ on the ballot of a state with roughly 4 million citizens (or at least–residents). I see that the Sec’ty of State is responsible for establishing what that number has to be and that the organizers had to produce 87,213 verified signatures by 3 July.

    I defer to the distinguished Mr Beasley both in the beard-growing department and the Oregon-election-prediction department but those seem like small numbers to me.

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  5. Ron Beasley says:

    @JohnMcC: The number of signatures required is a percentage of the gubernatorial vote in the last election. In the case of an initiative it’s a 8 percent which is as per the original 1902 law.

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  6. Jeremy says:

    I wonder if there are any other states which will get this issue on the ballot in time for the fall. Probably not, but if Alaska and Oregon pass I will bet that California and Florida will show up in 2016, maybe also New Hampshire, Vermont, MA, and possibly Maryland (DC will be weird, but it could theoretically happen. Unlikely, though.)

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  7. JohnMcC says:

    @Ron Beasley: Thank you, sir. I suspected that it was a (small) percentage of some group of voters but didn’t want to go looking for the particular state law. Eight percent, eh?

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  8. Tyrell says:

    @Ron Beasley: It is better to let the citizens vote on things like this instead of politicians or judges deciding what the people should do. I think that it would be better if they then let each county or town decide, the way alcoholic beverages is done. Some areas may not want certain things. But certainly it should not carry a prison sentence.
    The states need to make sure that there are education and treatments available for those who need it. The schools need to stay on top of this and make sure that they have an effective program in place. I remember when I was in school we watched some movies on how these drugs can affect the brain and other organs. The “Just Say No” program of the ’80’s was very good.

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  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    I expect Kentucky to take this matter up in the next few years, followed by Tennessee. Like SSM, I don’t think we’ll see the legalization wave truly start until parts of middle America* come around. Considering Kentucky’s considerable growing potential, and current black market, the tax potential is going to be awful tempting.

    *I know Colorado is middle America, but in many parts its considered as a kookie transplant from the coasts. I blame Boulder.

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  10. Ron Beasley says:

    @JohnMcC: Although I have lived in Oregon for much of my 68 years I still had to Google it.

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  11. Ron Beasley says:

    @Tyrell: a>: A couple of things: even all these years after the end of prohibition cities and counties in Oregon still have the right to be “dry” although I don’t believe there are any anymore. As for the schools – if you want to score some illegal marijuana today the best place to go is the local high school. If anything controlled legalization will make it easier to keep it out of the hands of school children.

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