What many of us suspected would be the case is now a reality: only one initiative for legalizing marijuana will be on the Oregon ballot come November. At one time, there were three, then two initiatives fighting for sufficient signatures to make it on Oregon’s November ballot, but now only that of New Approach Oregon remains. The New Approach Oregon initiative has way more than the required 87,213 signatures, and thus, barring unforeseen problems, should be on the ballot this year.
And we could not be happier.
For two reasons. 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.
New Approach Oregon describes its measure as follows:
How regulation 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:
– Keeping penalties involving minors, since it remains a felony to sell to minors; and
– 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.
It truly is a moderate measure, and one not all that different from Initiative 502, which passed last year in Washington State.
If you want recreational marijuana legal in Oregon, get behind New Approach Oregon by voting yes on it come this November.