Oregon Lawmakers Consider Writing Marijuana Ballot Themselves

Oregon’s House leadership is talking about referring its own marijuana legalization measure to voters rather than waiting on someone else to write a ballot measure for 2014.
September 13, 2013
 

Oregon’s House leadership is talking about referring its own marijuana legalization measure to voters rather than waiting on someone else to write a ballot measure for 2014.

House minority leader Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, said Wednesday that Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, spoke with him about her concern that if lawmakers don’t write their own proposal, then Oregon voters could pass a measure that’s both legally confusing and lacks sufficient oversight.

“The speaker has indicated to me that we run that risk if we do nothing,” McLane said. “I think that’s reasonable.”

Kotek was unavailable for comment. Her spokesman, Jared Mason-Gere, would only say the speaker will be “looking at this carefully and trying to ensure Oregon learns from other states’ experiences.”

Oregon voters rejected a 2012 initiative that would have allowed residents to cultivate and use marijuana for non-medicinal purposes. In 2013, a House bill similar to the failed Oregon Cannabis Tax Act also failed to get out of the House Revenue committee.

Despite these failures, legalization proponents and state lawmakers think 2014 could be the year. Especially since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Aug. 29 that the Department of Justice won’t challenge marijuana legalization laws passed by voters in Colorado and Washington.

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