Oregon Marijuana Tolerance Initiative (2010)

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Oregon Marijuana Tolerance Initiative, also known as Initiatives 2, 72 and 73, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute.[1][2]

Part of the energy behind legalizing and taxing marijuana came from a decision that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced in October 2009 to the effect that the federal government would stop prosecuting medical marijuana users in states that had passed medical marijuana laws, including Oregon. Advocates in Oregon and elsewhere made the case that faltering state budgets would be helped by the additional tax revenues state governments could expect in states where marijuana was a legal, taxable crop.[3]

Ballot summary

The ballot title read as follows:[4]

Permits personal marijuana, hemp cultivation/use without license; commission to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation/sale.

Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote permits state-licensed marijuana (cannabis) cultivation/sale to adults through state stores; permits unlicensed adult personal cultivation/use; prohibits restrictions on hemp (defined).

Result of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains existing civil and criminal laws prohibiting cultivation, possession and delivery of marijuana; retains current statutes that permit regulated medical use of marijuana.

Summary: Currently, marijuana cultivation, possession and delivery are prohibited; regulated medical marijuana use permitted. Measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws; distinguishes "hemp" from "marijuana;" prohibits regulation of hemp. Create agency to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Agency sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies, medical research facilities, and to qualified adults for profit through state stores. Ninety percent of net proceeds goes to state general fund, remainder to drug education, treatment, hemp promotion. Bans sales to, possession by minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit, minors barred. Agency to regulate use, set prices, other duties; Attorney General to defend against federal challenges/prosecutions. Provides penalties. Effective January 1, 2011; other provisions.


The initiative was sponsored by the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), a group dedicated to educate people about the medicinal and industrial uses for cannabis. It's chief petitioners were D. Paul Stanford and Madeline Martinez. The working title they gave to their proposal was the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA).[5][6]

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) executive director Jack Cole, a New Jersey state police officer who was also campaigning in California to assure the passage of marijuana legislation, said, "When you prohibit any drug, you create an underground market for that drug, and that attracts criminal activity. Marijuana — it’s just a weed; it has zero value until we say it’s illegal, then the price artificially inflates, becomes so obscenely high, that up until about a year ago when the economy took a turn, marijuana was worth more, ounce for ounce, than gold."[7]

Legal challenge

On March 30, 2010 supporters learned that a legal challenge against the certified ballot title were dismissed by the Oregon Supreme Court. Specifically, the challenge called the "summary" into question. According to the filed challenge, by Beaverton resident Bradley Benoit, his concerns were not adequately addressed by the state attorney general. The summary explanation, he argued, should have included the fact that Oregon Attorney General would be responsible to defend state residents and the proposed law should a federal case arise. Prior to the legal challenge, the state attorney general included Benoit's comments in the revised certified ballot title.[8][9]

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements

According to the secretary of state, supporters did not file signatures in an attempt to qualify the measure for the 2010 ballot. Initiative petitions for statutes required six percent of 1,379,475, or 82,769 signatures. The deadline for filing signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot was July 2, 2010. In early April 2010 the Oregon Secretary of State approved the proposed initiative petition.[10] As of May 13, initiative supporters reported having "less than 5,000 signatures."[7]

See also

External links

Additional reading