Salem, OR: A statewide proposal that seeks to allow for the regulated sale of cannabis to those over age 21 will appear on the November electoral ballot.
A spokesperson for the Oregon Secretary of State's office on Friday confirmed that proponents of The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) had collected sufficient signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative for the 2012 ballot.
If passed by voters this fall, OCTA (Measure 80) would allow for the state-licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. OCTA campaign proponents estimate that retail sales of cannabis would yield approximately $140 million annually, 90 percent of which would be directed toward the state's general fund.
The cultivation or possession of cannabis for non-commercial purposes would not be subject to state licensing or taxation.
The measure also seeks to allow for the sale of cannabis for therapeutic purposes to qualified patients "at cost" and allows for the production of industrial hemp. Oregon voters in 1998 approved legislation by voter initiative legalizing the use, possession, and cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
A June 2012 survey of 686 Oregon voters conducted by the firm Public Policy Polling reported that Oregonian's were divided on the issue. Forty-three percent of respondents said that they supported legalizing marijuana, while 46 percent of respondents opposed the idea. Men, self-identified Democrats and Independents endorsed legalization, while women and self-identified Republicans opposed it.
Voters in at least four other states - Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, and Washington - will also be deciding on marijuana-specific ballot measures this November. In Massachusetts, voters will decide on Question 3, a statewide proposal that seeks to allow for the possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Montana voters will decide on Initiative Referendum 124, which seeks to repeal amendments enacted by lawmakers in 2011 to restrict the state's 2004, voter approved medical cannabis law. Colorado voters will decide on Amendment 64, which would immediately allow for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. In Washington, voters will decide on Initiative 502, which seeks to legalize and to regulate the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana for adults.
An Arkansas measure that seeks to legalize the use of marijuana as medicine remains pending. On Friday, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office affirmed that petitioners Arkansans for Compassionate Care would have an additional 30 days to gather signatures in favor of the measure. Petitioners need to gather an additional 26,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify the measure for the November 2012 ballot.
For more information, please visit: http://octa2012.org/. NORML has additional details about this and other 2012 ballot proposals at its newly redesigned 'Smoke the Vote' website here: http://norml.org/about/smoke-the-vote.