I have said many times that Oregon is overdue when it comes to marijuana legalization. We would have passed marijuana legalization in 2012 (unlimited amounts!), but national organizations left us hanging during the election. That does not appear to be the case anymore, as a coalition called 'New Approach Oregon' has been working on a marijuana legalization initiative in my home state for awhile now.
This has put pressure on the Oregon Legislature to craft their own marijuana legalization model, and refer it to voters. I would support either attempts at legalization, and would actually prefer a legislative referral because then marijuana reform activists wouldn't have to put up nearly as much money for a campaign since there would be no signature gathering. Plus, a lot of voters would be more likely to support something that came from the Oregon Legislature than from the initiative process - even if the proposals were identical. The Legislature carries more credibility in the eyes of a lot of swing voters.
According to media reports, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has expressed his support for a Legislative referral. He has stated publicly that he hears the 'drumbeats from Washington and Colorado', and that the Legislature would be a better route for legalization than an initiative. Of course, one could argue that his support is overdue, but I guess it's better late than never, right? It just goes to show that politicians in Oregon are realizing that marijuana legalization is inevitable, and that if they want to have a say in the matter, they better act fast.
Oregon Senate Bill 1556 would refer a marijuana legalization model to voters if approved. The bill was introduced last month by Senator Floyd Prozanski. Oregon Senate Bill would legalize up to four plants at home, eight ounces of possession at home, and one ounce in transport. I hope the Oregon Legislature listens to Governor Kitzhaber and steps up to do what's right!