Oregon Could Join California on Pot Vote
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
California has attracted national attention for a November ballot measure that, if approved by voters, would legalize and tax marijuana. California's northern neighbor, Oregon, may have a similar measure on its ballot. The Oregon secretary of state's office has certified a petition drive that would decriminalize pot if its supporters gather enough signatures — and votes.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the measure would allow for the " cultivation and use of pot, under a system of state permits. The initiative would also create state-run stores where marijuana would be sold to adults, in part to generate revenue for Oregon's general fund."
As Stateline.org reported Monday (April 5), more states are considering marijuana as a way to boost revenue. Advocates have pitched marijuana as a new source of revenue this year in California, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Washington and elsewhere.
California's Board of Equalization has estimated that the state could raise $1.4 billion by legalizing and taxing marijuana, though that figure has been disputed amid uncertainty over whether regulators could accurately keep track of sales.
More broadly, any legalization of marijuana would run counter to federal law, and while the Obama administration has backed off raids of medical marijuana dispensaries in the states where such stores are legal, it is unclear what would happen if states approved more liberal, non-medical uses of marijuana.
In Oregon, supporters of decriminalization need to gather 82,000 signatures by July to qualify the measure for the November ballot, OPB reports. Oregonians approved medical marijuana at the polls in 2004.