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Jun-27-2014 00:35printcomments

Marijuana Regulation Will Qualify for Oregon's November Ballot

New Approach Oregon turned in at least 145,710 signatures today, more than enough to qualify

Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson of New Approach Oregon hands over the signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office.
Photo by Bonnie King

(SALEM, Ore.) - The New Approach Oregon campaign turned in at least 145,710 signatures today to the Oregon Secretary of State, more than enough to qualify a measure for the ballot to regulate marijuana.

That means Oregon voters in November 2014 can vote yes to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana. The campaign has finished collecting signatures.

Anthony Johnson, Liz Kaufman and the campaign team turned in the signatures on a day that coincides with the 6-month anniversary of the start of regulated sales of marijuana in Colorado. Marijuana sales in Colorado are projected to result in $30 million in tax revenue in the next year. Colorado has already seen a 10 percent drop in violent crime and a 50 percent drop in homicides.

In Oregon under the current system, more than 10,000 adults in Oregon are arrested every year for marijuana, according to the latest numbers from the Oregon State Police. That’s an average of one person every 51 minutes.

“It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on treating marijuana use as a crime,” said Peter Zuckerman, press secretary for the New Approach Oregon campaign.

“Prohibition of marijuana is ineffective, costs the state tax revenue and fuels violence. It’s time to try something new.”

The Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act legalizes possession of marijuana for adults 21 and older only; allows licenses and regulated cultivation and sales that are taxed, which would generate millions of dollars for essential services; and would keep in place laws that make selling marijuana to minors a felony.

How the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act will work:

  • The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLLC) will regulate the system including the amount of allowed purchase, sale, production, processing, transportation and delivery of marijuana items; as well as granting, refusing, suspending, or canceling licenses. They also regulate operating hours, security, quality control, labeling, and other health and safety issues.
  • The measure prohibits minors from buying, selling, manufacturing, possessing, or consuming marijuana; it also prohibits minors from entering marijuana stores under penalty of losing driving privileges. The measure additionally protects youths by: 1) Keeping penalties involving minors, since it remains a felony to sell to minors; and, 2) Allowing the OLCC to tightly restrict advertising while also banning advertising in places frequented by youth (the same as alcohol);
  • New tax revenue is dedicated to public services including school funding, state and local police, and drug treatment and prevention programs.
  • Retains current DUI and driving-while-impaired laws and requires the OLCC to examine existing studies regarding the use of marijuana and its impact upon driving and, if necessary, conduct its own research.
  • Retains drug-free workplace rules; and allows landlords to prohibit marijuana use on their property.
  • Prohibits all public use and display of marijuana. Marijuana will be available only in regulated stores located at least 1,000 feet from schools, and licensees must not display marijuana in a way visible to the public.
  • Limits personal homegrown marijuana by individuals for their own use, while preventing its sale and retaining penalties for conveying to youths by any means.
  • Retains current medical marijuana laws so that those who need it have access to it.
  • It says that marijuana items may not be imported into this state or exported from Oregon.
  • It prevents the illegal growth of marijuana on publicly-owned state or federal lands.

The Canna Law Group, a five-attorney dedicated practice group of Harris Moure, focuses on cannabis corporate, compliance, intellectual property, litigation, and consumer product issues.

The Canna Law Group says there are two reasons that they are behind this measure: “First, we want to see recreational marijuana legalized in Oregon, both because we believe in it and because we have an office there and we want to represent clients there. The chances of legalization will be greater now that everyone who wants that can focus and vote for one measure, not many.

“Second, the New Approach Oregon initiative is by far the best written, most sensible measure of the bunch, and because of that, it also is the one with the best chance of garnering sufficient support to pass.”

They say, “It truly is a moderate measure, and one not all that different from Initiative 502, which passed last year in Washington State.”

Zuckerman, press secretary for the New Approach Oregon campaign, said, “Prohibition of marijuana is ineffective, costs the state tax revenue and fuels violence.

“It’s time to try something new.”

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