Oregon: Marijuana Legalization: Full Speed Ahead
By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town/Special to Hemp News
It's full speed ahead for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), a ballot initiative which would legalize and tax marijuana in the Beaver State, as the Oregon Supreme Court has dismissed the only challenge to OCTA's ballot title.
The challenge -- filed by Bradley Benoit from the Beaverton, Ore., area -- came from an earlier comment regarding OCTA's summary explanation. The comment requested the summary of the measure describe in detail the fact that the Oregon Attorney General would be responsible for defending Oregonians, and the law itself, should a federal case arise.
The comment was addressed, and the Attorney General included Benoit's comments in the revised, certified ballot title, according to OCTA campaign spokesman Kyndall Mason.
"In an attempt to stall the signature gathering effort, Benoit filed a Supreme Court challenge to the title stating his comments were not fully addressed," Mason explained. "This decision from the Oregon Supreme Court sends a clear message to Benoit that his concerns were adequately addressed in the certified title released after the comment period."
According to Mason, the decision also marks a crucial step forward in the process to collect signatures for the ballot measure, which would end Oregon's prohibition on adult marijuana use and industrial hemp.
"A monumental ballot measure like this will send millions to the state general fund for state programs," Mason said, "including Department of Human Resources and public schools, and jump start an industry that will make Oregon a national leader in ecological innovation and sustainable jobs."
The measure would permit state-licensed marijuana cultivation and sale to adults through state stores; permits unlicensed adult personal cultivation and use; and prohibits restrictions on hemp.
The OCTA 2010 campaign has started a sweeping pledge effort in the last few weeks to garner support and awareness of the measure. "This pledge effort will translate into signatures for the petition," Mason said.
Supporters will need to gather 125,000 valid signatures by July 2 to secure a spot on the November 2010 ballot. Templates for petition circulation are being finalized in the next 10 days, according to Mason.
Chief petitioners on OCTA 2010 include Madeline Martinez of Oregon NORML and D. Paul Stanford of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF).
For more information on the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, visit www.cannabistaxact.org.