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If you live in Oregon, you certainly have some very good reasons to go vote this year.  Like this one:

This November, Oregon voters will get to decide whether they want to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana.

"Initiative Petition 53 has qualified for the November ballot," Tony Green, communications director for Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, confirmed to The Huffington Post Tuesday.

The petition was submitted by New Approach Oregon, a Portland-based marijuana policy reform group, earlier this month. More than 87,000 signatures have been verified by Brown's office.

According to the proposed initiative text, adults 21 and over in Oregon would be able to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana at home and one ounce in public. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission would be the agency charged with regulating and monitoring the industry, similar to the regulatory model used in Washington state. Taxes collected on sales of marijuana would be distributed to schools, law enforcement and drug prevention and education programs in the state.

It appears likely that the Oregon measure will pass. A recent poll showed that 57 percent of the state's likely 2014 voters support recreational marijuana legalization. Oregon has already decriminalized cannabis and legalized it for medical use, and Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) has signaled his support for recreational marijuana legalization, should a bill make it to his desk.

"I hear the drumbeats from Washington and Colorado," Kitzhaber said in January, referring to the two U.S. states where legal, regulated marijuana markets already exist. "I want to make sure we have a thoughtful regulatory system. The legislature would be the right place to craft that." - Huffington Post, 7/22/14

Here's a little more info:

The New Approach Oregon campaign announced Tuesday that the initiative cleared the Secretary of State's signature hurdle, earning the measure a place on the November ballot.

"This is our moment to be part of history and lead a movement," Dominique Lopez, metro regional organizer for New Approach Oregon, said in a statement. "Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, but together we can win a more sensible approach and better the lives of Oregonians."

The proposal would allow a person to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to four plants. It would also give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission authority to oversee and regulate recreational sales, which would start in January 2016.

Recreational marijuana would be taxed at $1.50 a gram or $35 an ounce, according to the initiative. That money would be used for schools, law enforcement, drug treatment programs and mental health programs.

If Oregonians legalize recreational marijuana in November, the Beaver State could become the third state in the nation to do so. Alaskans will also vote this November, and Washington and Colorado voters both passed legalization initiatives in 2012. - Statesman Journal, 7/22/14

Legalizing recreation marijuana would obviously be a great thing for Oregon but I must say Oregon has one of the coolest medical marijuana laws:

Benton Mackenzie is well known in Iowa. His recent trial and conviction for growing cannabis on his parents’ rural property made for page-one news, closely watched by marijuana activists nationwide.

On Tuesday, though, Mackenzie was just another Oregon medical marijuana patient, hoping to find the right strain and preparation of cannabis to ease the debilitating symptoms of his terminal cancer.

Mackenzie, 48, arrived at Portland International Airport in the morning, accompanied by his wife, Loretta, 43, and their son, Cody, 22. The couple earlier this month was convicted in Iowa state court of felony manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy, violation of the drug tax stamp act and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Their son was convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

The family members will be sentenced next month. Benton Mackenzie, who has two prior drug-related convictions, including one for manufacturing marijuana, faces up to five years in prison.

The family left their legal problems this week to make one last trip to Oregon, the only state in the country that allows out-of-staters to enroll in its medical marijuana program. According to the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees the medical marijuana program, 1,342 people from other states are Oregon medical marijuana patients.

During his flight, Mackenzie used a morphine pump to control pain from what he said is stage-four angiosarcoma, a rare and especially deadly form of cancer that affects the blood vessel lining. He said he hopes to rely less on narcotics once he obtains cannabis oil from one of Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

His wife, who serves as Mackenzie’s designated caregiver in the medical marijuana program, said the family was relieved to land in Oregon. - The Oregonian, 7/22/14

Kitzhaber said he would sign the marijuana initiative into law and set up regulatory system to make sure it runs smoothly.  This is an exciting year to be in Oregon for sure.  Now polls have showed Kitzhaber with a big lead but this makes me a little worried:

Republican Dennis Richardson won the Independent Party nomination in the Oregon governor's race, allowing him to add the party's endorsement on the November ballot.

Richardson, a state representative who defeated Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber in an Independent Party primary conducted partly over the Internet, led a Republican sweep of races that featured both Democratic and GOP candidates.

Sal Peralta, the Independent Party secretary, said in a press release Monday that the Republican candidates appeared to benefit from mailers sent by Oregon Right to Life urging Independent Party voters to participate in the primary. GOP candidates also "appeared to be working harder on outreach," he said.

In contrast, Peralta said, Democrats won most of the contested Independent primary races two years ago.

Meredith Glacken, Richardson's spokeswoman, said the Richardson campaign made thousands of phone calls and knocked on hundreds of doors of registered Independents.  "Our grass-roots organization is really second to none," she said, adding that she thought his victory spoke to disenchantment among Independent voters with Kitzhaber.

Kitzhaber campaign spokesman Christian Gaston charged that the process was driven by Oregon Right to Life and said it was "no surprise that Dennis Richardson won" given his opposition to abortion. - The Oregonian, 7/22/14

Kitzhaber won the Independent Party nomination in 2010 and Republicans also won several other legislative contests over Democrats.  Senator Jeff Merkley (D. OR) recently earned the Independent Party nomination over Monica Wehby (R. OR).  I'm not to concerned but I would take anything for granted.  Click here to donate and get involved with Kitzhaber's campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 07:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Koscadia, PDX Metro, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Daily Kos Oregon, and DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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