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Others Say - Oregon likely to vote again on marijuana legali

Marijuana advocates in Oregon lost their bid at the polls last week to legalize marijuana

Nov 15, 2012


Marijuana advocates in Oregon lost their bid at the polls last week to legalize marijuana through Measure 80, but the success of more tightly written legalization measures in other states likely means that Oregon voters can look forward to a sequel, and soon.

Measure 80, with its tangled digressions into the history of hemp and its oddball blend of cheerleading and proselytizing, was a mess. Oregon voters made the right call to reject it.

Oregon voters likely had some specific worries about Measure 80: For starters, it included no limits on personal possession or cultivation.

And the measure’s call for a seven-member Oregon Cannabis Commission — to be dominated by members of the state’s cannabis community, “elected at large by growers and processors” — probably didn’t sit well with voters who might have been sympathetic to legalization but wanted to see some checks and balances.

With that said, though, the votes last week in Washington state and Colorado to approve recreational marijuana use suggest that there might be an appetite in Oregon for a more restrained legalization ballot measure here.

Plenty of questions remain about how legalization will play out in Colorado and Washington.

In fact, every state that takes even a small step toward legalization risks picking a fight with federal drug authorities.

As of last week, the feds had yet to say how they’ll react to the Colorado and Washington measures, prompting this great comment from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: “Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

Backers of Measure 80 said last week they would now take their case for legalization to the 2013 Legislature.

That strikes us as a long shot — if anything, it seems to us legislators will be more interested in clarifying the state’s fast-growing medical marijuana program than moving forward on legalization.

So that means the initiative process still might be the best available avenue for marijuana advocates. Our hunch is that Oregon voters will have another marijuana decision to make, possibly as early as 2014.

Corvallis Gazette-Times

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