Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91 (2014)

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Measure 91
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Type:Initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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The Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91 is on the November 4, 2014 statewide ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute.[1] If approved by voters, the measure would legalize recreational marijuana for people ages 21 and older, allowing adults over this age to possess up to eight ounces of "dried" marijuana and up to four plants. Additionally, the measure would task the Oregon Liquor Control Commission with regulating sales of the drug.[2][3] The initiative is being sponsored by the group "New Approach Oregon." Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner, hoped legislators would refer the measure to the ballot, however they failed to do so before the 2014 session ended on March 10, 2014.[2] It is also known as the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The certified ballot title reads as:[4]

Allows possession, manufacture, sale of marijuana by/to adults, subject to state licensing, regulation, taxation[5]


The 2012 elections proved to be groundbreaking for marijuana legalization support groups. Voters in Washington approved Initiative 502, thereby legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Coloradans followed suit when they approved Amendment 64 during the same election. However, voters in Oregon rejected Measure 80, a similar, though slightly less stringent, marijuana legalization measure. Measure 80 would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to possess an unlimited supply of marijuana and given an industry-dominated board permission to regulate sales.[2]


New Approach Oregon logo.JPG


  • New Approach Oregon[2]
  • Drug Policy Action of Oregon

New Approach Oregon, "An Oregon Voice for a New Approach to Marijuana," July 1, 2014


New Approach Oregon argues that the state's current approach to marijuana is a "hodgepodge" that is inconsistent in taxation and regulation. They posit that this ultimately costs the state in the following ways:

  • There are at least 12,000 arrests and citations for marijuana each year across Oregon counties. In addition to the financial cost, every marijuana arrest and citation takes time that a police officer could have used patrolling a neighborhood, preventing an assault or car theft, or solving a violent crime.
  • Marijuana prohibition makes it harder to protect children. Right now, it is easier for junior high and high school students to get marijuana than a six pack. There is no real regulation and effective prevention programs are chronically underfunded.
  • The current, failed approach also supports and increases profits for the criminal black market, including violent drug cartels waging a drug war on our southern border.[5]

—New Approach Oregon, [6]

Campaign contributions

New Approach Oregon was the petition committee for this initiative.[7] Additionally, the political action committee (PAC) Drug Policy Action of Oregon is supporting the initiative.[8] The following totals of contributions and expenditures are as of July 30, 2014. At that time the only contributions made to New Approach Oregon 2014 were in-kind contributions by the New Approach Oregon PAC.

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
New Approach Oregon 2014 $599,455.82 $599,455.82
New Approach Oregon $950,168.16 $912,890.50
Drug Policy Action of Oregon $0.00 $0.00
Total $1,549,623.98 $1,512,346.32
Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $1,549,623.98
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $0.00

Top 5 contributors:

Donor Amount
New Approach PAC $250,000
Drug Policy Action $200,000
Drug Policy Action Fund for Oregon $150,000
Philip Harvey $100,000
Henry van Ameringen $100,000


While no opposition groups have filed with the secretary of state as of July 30, 2014, some have hypothesized the "pharmaceutical companies who manufacture prescription painkillers could be the single economic interest that has the means and motivation to contest legalization."[9][10]

Reports and analyses

Infographic via ECONorthwest


A Portland firm, ECONorthwest, was hired by measure supporters to estimate the potential tax revenues of a legalized marijuana industry, if this measure is approved. The firm found that the first-year would generate revenues of $38.5 million for the state and $78.7 million for the 2017 biennium budget. The estimates were based off of figures from Colorado's marijuana sales, accounting for a lower rate of taxation in Oregon under this measure. They also calculated that approximately 20 percent of the illegal marijuana trade would shift to the legal market. The report, however, did not consider the impact of marijuana legalization on courts, police or jail operations.[11]

Read the full tax revenue estimate here.

Liccardo Pacula & Sevigny (2014)

A 2014 paper by Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and Eric L. Sevigny questioned how much can be understood about marijuana legalization efforts up to that point. However, they did note the following conclusions that they could glean from the available research:[12]

  • "[The] rescheduling of marijuana and provision of it through typical highly regulated medical channels would not lead to widespread increases in its use or harms."
  • "[Legalization] would generate savings in terms of reduced criminal justice costs and improve social welfare by eliminating criminal sanctions for minor marijuana offenses."
  • "[Marijuana] use will rise under legalization, in large part because legally sanctioned production and competition will drive down prices."

The authors also noted, however, that many outcomes cannot be predicted based on available information. Whether or not increased use will also increase associated harms will depend on many factors. The authors hypothesized that one of the most important will be " who ends up responding the most to price." They said,

If it is the casual adult user who enters the market and consumes in relatively small amounts, then the expected harms are very small. If it is new young users, more involved heavy users, or users of other substances, then the harms could be greater. The literature examining differential elasticities across the population of users is very thin for marijuana.[5]

—Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and Eric L. Sevigny, [12]

Read the full paper here.

Columbia University (2012)

A 2012 study by Magdalena Cerda, Melanie Wall, Katherine M Keyes, Sandro Galea and Deborah Hasin at Columbia University examined how the legalization of medical marijuana laws have affected the use of, abuse of and dependence on marijuana. The authors noted that marijuana "is the most frequently used illicit substance in the United States". The study found that medical marijuana legalization directly correlated which higher rates of all three aspects, but that the increased risk for abuse or dependence was accounted for by the higher use rate. The authors did not note a causal relationship between medial marijuana legalization and these outcomes, and noted the need for further investigation on the relationships.[13]

Read the full paper here.


See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

  • In the beginning of June 2014, Survey USA conducted a poll of 560 likely voters regarding upcoming election issues in Oregon. At the time of the poll, multiple marijuana measures were still in contention. The poll did not ask voters specifically about this measure, but rather their general attitude towards marijuana legalization. Support for legalization was higher among men at 57 percent and women at 44 percent. Support was highest among people aged 18 to 34 at 70 percent, but still over half of respondents aged 35-64 supported legalization. The exact question put to respondents was:
Oregon will also vote on several ballot measures. First, on the topic of recreational marijuana, there are three separate measures on the ballot. While each is different, in general, they would allow adults to use, possess, and grow marijuana for their own personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax the marijuana. In general, do you support? Or oppose? Allowing adults to use, possess and grow marijuana for their personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax marijuana?[5]

—Survey USA, [14]

Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative (2014)
Poll Support OpposeNot sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Survey USA
06/05/2014 - 06/09/2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Oregon

Supporters had to collect 87,213 valid signatures by July 3, 2014, in order to land the initiative on the ballot. The version of the proposed initiative been circulated for signatures was the second version submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State by supporters. The first version, proposed initiative number 37, faced a legal challenge to its ballot language, which delayed its certification for signature gathering. After the current version, proposed initiative number 53, was submitted and approved for circulation, the petitioners withdrew proposed initiative 37.[15][16]

Supporters of the initiative began collecting signatures on April 17, 2014.[17] They announced that they had gathered 145,000 signatures on June 26, 2014, and submitted them to the secretary of state on the same day.[18]

On July 22, the secretary of state certified the measure for the ballot with 88,584 valid signatures.[19]

Related measures

See also

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News stories

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Oregonian, "From marriage to marijuana, Oregon facing flood of hot-button ballot measures next year," October 26, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 OregonLive.com, "With national backing, marijuana advocates file legalization measure," October 25, 2013
  3. The Oregonian, "At marijuana legalization hearing, question is how much regulation should go before Oregon voters," November 22, 2013
  4. Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division, "Detailed Information For : 53/2014," accessed June 7, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. New Approach Oregon, "A Smart, Responsible Approach," accessed July 23, 2014
  7. Oregon Secretary of State, "Statement of Organization for Petition Committee ID: 16841," accessed July 30, 2014
  8. Oregon Secretary of State, "Statement of Organization for Political Action Committee ID: 17008," accessed July 30, 2014
  9. Willamette Week, "Here's Who Could Oppose Marijuana Legalization in Oregon," July 14, 2014
  10. The Nation, "The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal," July 21-28, 2014
  11. ECONorthwest, "Oregon Cannabis Tax Revenue Estimate," July 22, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 Liccardo Pacula, R. & Sevigny E. L. (2014) "Marijuana Liberalizations Policies: Why We Can’t Learn Much from Policy Still in Motion." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 33(1), 212-221.
  13. Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S. and Hasin, D. (2012) "Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence." Drug and Alcohol Dependence 120(1-3), 22-27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.06.011
  14. Survey USA, "Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #21334," accessed July 23, 2014
  15. Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division, "Detailed Information For : 37/2014," June 6, 2014
  16. Cannabis Culture, "Will Oregon Have Three Marijuana Initiatives This Year?" March 20, 2014
  17. OregonLive.com, "Marijuana legalization campaign in Oregon will begin collecting signatures Thursday," April 16, 2014
  18. Associated Press, "Pot advocates deliver petitions for Oregon ballot," June 26, 2014
  19. Associated Press, "Your vote: Oregon marijuana measure qualifies for November ballot," July 22, 2014