Oregon: Legislature Fails On Marijuana Legalization; Initiative Campaigns Promise A Solution
Activists Promise 'Big Announcement' Next Week
Paul Stanford: "These measures are going to be on the ballot"
In light of recent news that the Oregon Legislature has abandoned meaningful reforms, initiative activists are moving forward with a new phase in their campaign to end criminal penalties for marijuana.
"We salute the efforts of Representative Peter Buckley and other progressive-minded legislators," said chief petitioner Paul Stanford, "and we are ready to pick up where they fell and bring a pair of ballot initiatives restoring the progressive pioneer spirit that Oregon is well known for."
Oregon has lagged behind other Western states in bringing reform to marijuana law. Two initiative petitions, IP 21 and IP 22, would change that. "Prohibition doesn't work," Stanford said. "Filling our jails with nonviolent marijuana prisoners is a waste of public resources and people's future. We will end prohibition and end criminal penalties for marijuana."
Oregon's 2014 Initiative 21, a constitutional amendment to end prohibition and stop imposing criminal penalties for marijuana, has 38,000 signatures collected to date. It needs 116,284 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures by July 3rd to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.
Initiative 22, a proposed statute to regulate and tax marijuana, and allow farmers to grow hemp for fuel, fiber and food, has gathered 25,000 signatures. It needs 87,213 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
"While we hoped that the Legislature would do the right thing and refer this to the voters, we understood how difficult it would be given the current political climate," said another chief petitioner, William Appel. "We are now ready to take these measures the rest of the way and give the choice to the voters."
"We will have a big announcement next week regarding the next phase and our new partners," Stanford said. "These measures are going to be on the ballot.
"Our initiatives are designed to move Oregon ahead of both Washington and Colorado, so Oregon's economy can reap the benefits of these rapidly growing industries, sooner rather than later," Stanford said. "A few days ago, on Monday, we saw medical marijuana businesses bring $1.2 million into state coffers in a single day.
"Marijuana sales to adults will exceed that, and hemp for fuel, fiber and food will be bigger still," Stanford said. "Oregon's economy will benefit from the end the prohibition of hemp and cannabis."