While Oregonians generally favor legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana like beer and wine, they weren’t quite ready to legalize personal possession of an unlimited amount or home cultivation of an unlimited number of plants. Also, the campaign behind Oregon’s legalization initiative didn’t receive large donations from national funders like Washington and Colorado did. Despite the broad language and lack of funding, Measure 80’s attempt to legalize cannabis still garnered nearly 47% of the vote.
In 2014 Oregonians will likely get another chance to vote on marijuana legalization. This time organizers are taking a new approach. New Approach Oregon is currently gathering signatures to place a regulatory legalization system on the ballot this November. If the signature gathering campaign is successful collecting the 87,213 valid signatures necessary to qualify, a new poll suggests that the initiative could also succeed on Election Day.
DHM polling released results of a poll they conducted on behalf of OPB from April 30th to May 2nd, in which the question was asked ‘Would you support or oppose Oregon legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older?’ 54% of participants stated that they strongly/somewhat supported the question. Only 38% said they strongly/somewhat opposed the question. 9% were undecided. Oregonians voted down legalization in 2012 by a relatively slim margin of 53.25% to 46.75%. It appears that a legalization proposal with sensible limits and regulations can make up the difference, setting the stage for Oregon to join Colorado and Washington in legalizing cannabis commerce (and possibly Alaska, who will be voting on legalization this November).
Based off of the recent poll, Oregonians clearly want to see a new industry started in Oregon. Oregonians want to see cannabis legalized, and to start reaping the benefits of reform. An Oregon cannabis industry has the chance to be one of the largest industries in the state, creating jobs and generating revenue for education, public safety and mental health and substance abuse treatment. It’s time for a new approach from the status quo, it is time for Oregon to regulate cannabis like beer and wine and create a new, local industry that can flourish and prosper.
Full disclosure: Anthony Johnson, OCIA’s Executive Director serves as Chief Petitioner of the New Approach Oregon legalization measure. Two other legalization measures are collecting signatures as well and OCIA supports any and all measures that improve upon the status quo of cannabis prohibition.