Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative, Measure 80 (2012)

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Cannabis Tax Act Initiative
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Type:Initiated state statute
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative, Measure 80, was on the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have created a seven-person statewide cannabis commission to regulate the cultivation and sale of cannabis.[1][2]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
Oregon Measure 80
Defeatedd No923,07153.42%
Yes 810,538 46.58%
Official results from the Oregon Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The official ballot title was:[3]

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

Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote allows commercial marijuana (cannabis) cultivation/sale to adults through state-licensed stores; allows 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. Creates commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies, medical research facilities and to qualified adults for profit through state-licensed 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. Commission regulates use, sets prices, other duties; Attorney General to defend against federal challenges/prosecutions. Provides penalties. Effective January 1, 2013; other provisions.


Supporters argued that legalization had the potential to raise an estimated $140 million in taxes for the state of Oregon and save $60 million in law enforcement costs.[4]


  • Country music singer Willie Nelson.[5]

Campaign advertisements

In mid-March of 2012, Paul Stanford, a marijuana legalization activist and owner of THCF Medical Clinics, was approached by country music singer Willie Nelson for help in obtaining an Oregon medical marijuana card. Stanford asked Nelson if he would publicly support the OCTA initiative, Nelson said yes and the video to the right appeared on YouTube.com on March 15, 2012.[5]

Tactics and strategies

The campaign in support of the proposed measure was kicked off in late March 2011 following the approval of the petition for circulation by state officials.[6]


Nine former directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration signed a letter to the U.S. Justice Department asking it to oppose this measure and similar initiatives in other states. From the letter: "We urge you to oppose publicly Amendment 64 in Colorado, Initiative 502 in Washington and Measure 80 in Oregon. To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public ... a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives."[7]


See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • According to a SurveyUSA poll conducted from September 10 to September 13, 2012, 37 percent of respondents were certain to vote 'yes' on the measure, while 41 percent were certain to vote 'no,' and another 22 percent were not certain which way they would vote. The survey interviewed 700 Oregon citizens and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.[8]

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

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Sep. 10-13, 2012 SurveyUSA 37% 41% 22% 700

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 87,213 valid signatures by July 6, 2012.

On July 13, 2012, the Oregon Secretary of State reported that the measure was qualified to appear on the ballot with 88,887 verified signatures.[9]

See also

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External links