At the side-lines of more nationally watched states, Oregon reform advocates may have managed to nudge the state towards being the next to watch for the possible legalization of recreational cannabis use.
This year will be a vital one for Oregon cannabis advocates, as they’ve just managed to gather enough signatures across the state to put the issue on the November ballot. The timing couldn’t be any better. The state will join Alaska and Florida in November to vote on the issue of drug reform.
The success of the signature campaign has been positively affected by initiation of “adult use” markets in Washington State and Colorado. However, the model Oregon voters are going to the polls to approve is slightly different from the first two recreational states. For starters, both recreational and medical use are taxed at far lower overall rates.
There is also a strong and corresponding campaign message to support legalization as a way to redirect dollars spent on drug law enforcement into other uses. Recent industry data, particularly from Colorado, shows that overall crime is down with no corresponding uptick in teen or other illicit use.
This is not the first attempt to put the issue of recreational use before voters in Oregon. In 2012, when the first two recreational states finally passed the ballot initiative, Measure 80 failed in the state as Washington State and Colorado voters legalized the use of recreational cannabis use.
Part of the reason was the fact that the 2012 measure in Oregon would have allowed those over 21 to possess an unlimited amount of cannabis. This year, the measure— if it passes— would be the most generous of any state (consumers can have up to 8 oz). The addition of some kind of quantity restrictions are what organizers hope will be enough to allow the measure to pass and prevail.