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Marijuana: Oregon Initiative For Regulated Sales Starts Gathering Signatures

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #542)
Politics & Advocacy

Oregon has already decriminalized marijuana possession and enacted the second-largest state medical marijuana program in the country, and now some Oregon activists are ready to move to the next level. This week, signature gathering began for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), which would provide for marijuana to be sold in retail stores, among other things.

According to initiative sponsors, the act would provide for "regulating and taxing adult sales; licensing the cultivation of the drug for sale in state-run package stores and adults-only businesses; allowing adults to grow their own and farmers to grow industrial hemp without license; and letting doctors prescribe untaxed cannabis to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses and injuries."

The initiative effort is being led by D. Paul Stanford of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Madeline Martinez, head of Oregon NORML. Whether other elements of the state's sometimes fractious marijuana community will come on board remains to be seen.

Parts of the community had been in the defensive mode as they prepared to fend off an attack on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) by conservative crime-fighting initiative specialist Kevin Mannix. But Mannix recently took the assault on OMMA off the table, at least for now, and Stanford and Martinez are ready to sail through the breach.

Organizers need 80,000 signatures to put the measure before voters in the November 2010 election. They say the measure will generate millions of dollars a year for the state's general fund through sales to adults. Additional revenues from pot taxes would go to drug treatment programs.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

I reviewed the measure and didn't see any specific mention of
" allowing adults to grow their own". It creates a ClassC felony
for unlicensed cultivation for sale or removal from the state. But I didn't see any other mention of unlicensed cultivation, for example by homeowners for consumption on the location where grown.

Fri, 07/11/2008 - 5:08pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Keep hitting it hard and we'll get there, Main key is to Educate
Legalize Clothing Company

Fri, 07/11/2008 - 5:09pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Yep, it's official, there is no reference in the OCTA specifically allowing the cultivation of cannabis by individuals for personal use.

That's too bad it sounded pretty good otherwise. Maybe by only allowing us to buy from the OCLCC stores they are insuring that the promised revenues are actually generated.

Fri, 07/11/2008 - 7:36pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

OCTA repeals and supersedes all Oregon criminal statutes regarding marijuana (except regarding DUI and minors). OCTA does not replace those statutes that banned the personal use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana, only the sales of marijuana. So... what would you be charged with?

This is an "implicit" way of legalizing personal use. We cannot explicitly say "It is legal for you to grow your own" because that would run afoul of the international treaties and constitutional guidelines we feel are so important in the inevitable federal court defense we will have to muster.

The UN Single Convention Treaty on Drugs mandates a licensed and regulated system of drug plant cultivation, delivery, and sale that must be wholly controlled by the state. OCTA does just that, and international treaties carry the same force of law as the US Constitution. And any federal statute (Controlled Substances Act) that is in conflict with international treaty will be struck down by a fair court (ah... there's the rub).

Some will argue the Raich decision on California's medical marijuana will trump OCTA, since Raich's argument was that the medmj was all intrastate and not for sale. SCOTUS used the Wickard v. Filburn precedent of personal wheat-growing during a 1940s war-related rationing system to determine that marijuana is fungible, and so even unsold intrastate medical marijuana triggers a commerce clause defense for the feds.

That said, Raich was a private citizen not in compliance with international treaty. This is a new tack that has not been tried, so we can only speculate on how SCOTUS would rule on it. But since this will take place in 2010, with (hopefully) a more Democratic / progressive federal government, and a few more medical marijuana states, and would be heard on appeal through the liberal Ninth Circuit courts, we feel that our OCTA has a serious chance of being upheld.

And if not... well, we got a US state majority to say "relax it and tax it" and stirred up discussion of the issue throughout the country and we're no worse off than we are right now under prohibition.

"Radical" Russ Belville
Host - NORML Daily Audio Stash -
Associate Director - Oregon NORML -
Host - The Russ Belville Show -

Fri, 07/11/2008 - 10:36pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

how can a un treaty trump our own constitution? how easy would an established ,quality grower of oregon cannabis be able to sell his produce to the state? who will decide who is allowed this livelyhood? i love the premise of this initiative but i think there are serious ommissions. is this initiative still in a working form or is this the final draft? i would love to volunteer a southern oregon point of view to this initiative if interested . i think an initiative like this should come from a unified position to be most effective.

Sun, 10/12/2008 - 2:39pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

and your desired specific bylaws won't be the only good ones proposed by various folks. but as far as modifying this particular initiative...

by the sound of the way this bill omits things it therefore doesn't have to explicitly include in order to effectively legalize (and many, many folks would prefer there be no laws on the plant, like sumac and kudzu), it's already a pretty well-honed work.

would you rather attempt to promote and pass your own well-honed amendments as is with prohibition as the landscape, or with legalization a reality?
what's best for the cause -now-?

Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:34am Permalink

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