OREGON: Volunteers and paid petitioners have started gathering signatures for two 2014 initiatives that would work in concert to legalize and tax marijuana in Oregon.
Initiative 21 is a constitutional amendment that would end criminal penalties for marijuana and give adult Oregonians permission to grow and use cannabis for recreational purposes.
Initiative 22, also know at the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2014, would create a commission to regulate how marijuana would be grown, sold and taxed in the state.
Both initiatives gathered more than 5,000 signatures over two days at the the ninth annual Hempstalk Festival in Portland, according to HEMP in Oregon. The group called the kick off to its petition drive a strong start.
“Marijuana prohibition does not work and is expensive to maintain,” HEMP in Oregon Director Paul Stanford said in the release. “We must move forward on a better path for hemp and marijuana in Oregon.”
Some Oregon lawmakers like Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, have reached a similar conclusion about prohibition’s effectiveness and are pushing party leadership to form a bicameral committee to look at marijuana legalization’s impacts on revenue, judicial and healthcare in Oregon.
House minority leader Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, told the Statesman Journal last week that it’s possible legislators could write their own referral for legalization. The idea being that it’s more important to ensure the law passes with the oversight and protections lawmakers want than it is to continue to oppose legalization.