Marijuana Legalization Initiatives In Oregon In Desperate Need Of Help
Joe | Jun 20, 2012 | Comments 1
Competing marijuana legalization initiatives in Oregon have both failed to get enough valid signatures to make the fall ballot in the state, and without a “miracle,” Oregon voters will not be deciding the matter of legalization this year.
Bradley Steinman, who is President of Lewis and Clark Law School Chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, recently wrote an op-ed posted on The Weed Blog about what happened and what is needed going forward.
To appear on the November 2012 election ballot as a voter initiated statute, I-9, a.k.a. the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) needs a total of 87,213 signatures of registered Oregon voters by July 6. Seeking to legalize marijuana by voter initiated constitutional amendment is I-24, a.k.a. Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement (CSLE). Voter initiated amendments require more signatures than initiated statutes to make the ballot in Oregon, so a total of 116,283 valid signatures is required to ensure CSLE gets on the ballot.
The proof is in the pudding. OCTA turned in 107,992 unverified signatures on 5/25/12, the early turn-in deadline. After inspection, OCTA was found to have 55,869 valid signatures, and achieved a signature validity rate of only 58.47% after discounting for invalid signatures. CSLE turned in whopping total of 122,337 unverified signatures to the Secretary of State on 5/25/12, and was found after inspection to have only 63,804 valid signatures! That is, a signature validity rate of only 54.1%.
As the July 6, 2012 deadline creeps closer, OCTA is 31,344 signatures short of making the ballot and CSLE is 52,480 signatures short. Neither is likely to come up with the amount of signatures necessary in such a short amount of time. It would take a miracle at this point in the game.
Just because something might take a miracle to accomplish doesn’t mean it’s not worth while. But that’s really up to the people of Oregon. Do they care enough about legalization to make it happen this year? And if they do care, will they just regroup and wait for 2014, taking note of the lessons learned this year?
The next few weeks will tell the tale.