Oregon's marijuana legalization efforts have been well documented by media outlets around the country. As I've said many times, Oregon should have joined Colorado and Washington in 2012, but national donors dropped the ball for one reason or another on Measure 80. I have stated over and over that if Oregon had a better initiative on the ballot, even without national campaign donors, it would have passed. Or, if national donors had donated even 1/5 what Colorado and Washington had to work with, it would have passed. Even with no money, and a poorly written initiative, we were within 3 percentage points of victory.
While some people outside of Oregon determined Measure 80's failure to be a sign that Oregon wasn't ready for legalization, people inside of Oregon knew the truth. Whereas Colorado and especially Washington compromised with very strict rules and regulations in their initiatives to get them approved, Oregon allowed UNLIMITED possession and cultivation amounts. So a campaign with virtually no money and no limits came within 3% points of victory...I would argue that it's not a sign Oregon wasn't ready - it's a sign of how close Oregon was. Draft a better bill and/or get some national donors, and Oregon will will easily in ANY year the initiative is ran.
Luckily for Oregonians and marijuana supporters nationwide, Oregon has a better initiative AND national donors gearing up for the 2014 Election. Yesterday my friends at New Approach Oregon officially filed a marijuana legalization initiative aimed at the 2014 Election. I'm telling you right now - this is the strongest campaign to legalize marijuana currently operating in the country, and has the best chance of passing. Before people outside of Oregon try to bash on Oregon's 2014 efforts, consider the following, per The Oregonian:
The Drug Policy Alliance, which is tied to billionaire currency trader George Soros, last month gave $50,000 to New Approach. Peter Lewis, the chairman of Progressive Insurance Company, gave $32,000 earlier this month.
People like the Drug Policy Alliance and Peter Lewis don't just throw their money anywhere and everywhere. They have been working with New Approach Oregon behind the scenes for awhile now and recognize that there is a strong campaign team in place and that victory will be ours. The Drug Policy Alliance helped us greatly during the 2012 Oregon Attorney General race, which we won despite most other national organizations refusing to help us out in a meaningful way. Just as the Drug Policy Alliance helped us win that vital race, so to will they help us legalize in 2014.
You can read the full initiative at this link here. Things to note are that there is home cultivation allowed (unlike Washington), possession limits are higher than both Colorado and Washington, and there are no new DUI provisions - none of that 5 ng nonsense. We are all still holding out hope that the Oregon Legislature will either pass HB 3371 or refer it to voters, but if not, we are ready to proceed forward with the initiative. We will not tolerate foot dragging and delay tactics by the legislature. Whether or not the Legislature steps up is anyone's guess. Per The Oregonian:
Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland and a supporter of marijuana legalization, said he thought there was a 50-50 chance lawmakers would refer a measure to the ballot. He argued that this approach would produce a better piece of legislation, but he said that it is still a controversial issue that many lawmakers don't want to touch.
The Oregonian, Oregon's largest media outlet and long time opponents of marijuana reform, has published multiple articles calling for the Legislature to step up. It was a shock to the entire Oregon marijuana community when those articles dropped, since it was different than what we have seen from The Oregonian for so many years. However, it's a sign that marijuana legalization in Oregon is inevitable, and the Oregon Legislature should realize this. The ball is in their court to produce their own bill, but it won't be an option forever. As the 2014 Election draws closer and closer, New Approach Oregon will continue to ramp up it's efforts and continue to raise donations inside and outside of Oregon. We have the strongest legalization campaign team in the country right now, and we will be victorious!