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Mar-29-2011 02:20printcommentsVideo

Could Oregon be First to End Cannabis Prohibition? 'OCTA 2012' is Approved for Signatures

The petition drive could lead to ending the failed prohibition law.

OCTA 2012

(SALEM, Ore.) - About 30 volunteers rallied at the new office for the OCTA 2012 campaign on Portland's East side to meet, pick up packets and get outfitted for outreach early Monday. The Oregon Secretary of State's Election Division announced the approval of the petition, Initiative Number 9, for circulation and signature gathering on March 24th and the group lost no time in getting to work.

OCTA 2012 organizers have until July 7, 2012 to gather 90,000 registered voters' signatures to qualify for the November 6, 2012 ballot.

If passed, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 will regulate the legal sale of marijuana to adults through state-licensed stores, allow adults to grow their own, license Oregon farmers to grow marijuana for state-licensed stores and allow unlicensed Oregon farmers to grow cannabis hemp for fuel, fiber and food.

The state campaign committee is working to achieve ballot status in three ways: hiring paid petitioners, organizing volunteer petitioners and soliciting Oregon registered voters signatures online.

Jennifer Alexander, OCTA

Last November, a cannabis-related measure did not pass in Oregon. The difference between the two is substantial. Unlike OCTA 2012, Measure 74 was specifically regarding medical marijuana dispensaries- not legalization.

Paul Stanford, co-petitioner of OCTA 2012 says "there hasn't been anything like OCTA on the ballot, with the exception of California's measure last year, which was only slightly similar."

Organizers say that OCTA 2012 will raise $140 million a year for Oregon by taxing commercial cannabis sales to adults 21 years of age and older, and save an estimated $61.5 million as law enforcement, corrections and judicial attention can focus on violent crimes and theft.

"We estimate this will amount to $200 million a year more funding for state government. Ninety percent of the proceeds will go into the state general fund, 7% for drug treatment programs, one percent each for drug education in public schools, and two new state commissions to promote hemp biofuel and hemp fiber and food," Alexander said.

OCTA 2012 is "the Legalization Conversation"


Q: Most people don't want to legalize pot, all the polls say so!
A: On the contrary- Polls from 2006/07 say a MAJORITY of Westerners prefer to "Relax it and tax it".

Q: How will we ever be able to stop pot DUIs if marijuana is legal?
A: How do we stop pot DUIs now? OCTA maintains all DUI penalties.

Q: Won't OCTA make it easier for teens to get cannabis?
A: Nearly 84% of high school seniors ALREADY find it easy to get cannabis!

Q: How will $300M/yr in OCTA money benefit the State of Oregon?
A: 90% of OCTA goes to the general fund, the rest funds rehab, education, & hemp.

Q: I don't use cannabis, so why should I care about passing OCTA?
A: Spend $61.5M/yr on busting cannabis users, or earn $300M/yr taxing them?

Q: Won't sales of cannabis in adult stores mean more people using cannabis?
A: Everyone who wants to use cannabis already is... on the uncontrolled black market!

Q: OCTA sends the wrong message about cannabis to teenagers!
A: Since medical marijuana passed in Oregon, teen cannabis use went down.

Q: OCTA's a good idea, but it will never survive a federal court challenge
A: OCTA was drafted to obey the Constitution and US International Drug Treaties

Q: We have enough problems with drugs, why have another one?
A: We sell beer and cigarettes, which kill >520,000 a year; cannabis kills ZERO.

Q: Won't we see more safety issues in the workplace if OCTA passes?
A: OCTA keeps all drug-free workplace policies and DUI laws intact.

Q: Marijuana is a gateway drug, more people will get hooked on hard drugs!
A: The gateway theory is a myth - most cannabis users never try other drugs.

Q: What are the benefits of growing an industrial hemp crop in Oregon?
A: Greener cheaper fuel and industry for our farmers and timber workers.

Compiled by Russ Belville,
NORML Outreach Coordinator

A common experience shared throughout the volunteers is one learned through previous actions circulating petitions for OCTA.

"I intentionally contacted many officers of the law to see how they felt about legalization," Alexander said. "Law enforcement supports legalization more than medical marijuana because currently they have to differentiate between law breakers and those exempted from the criminal laws."

"Through the Measure 74 campaign, even media representatives were saying that they wanted us to have the legalization conversation."

"I do not believe that there is a lack of support for marijuana legalization. Instead, I feel that there is a fear of openly admitting support for marijuana legalization among some," Alexander added, "And they need to come out of the cannabis closet."

Beyond the enthusiastic volunteers, there were many interested citizens and media outlets at the kick-off on Monday, and Alexander said that some were in "awe" at the variety of hemp products at the event. On display was pressed hemp board, hemp sealant, hemp cereal, hemp socks, hemp bags, hemp granola bars, hemp milk, hemp shampoo, Dr. Bronner's hemp soap, and much more.

"The volunteers were used to the variety of benefits hemp has to offer, but the media in particular seemed astonished, so I was very glad it was all there."

The Cannabis Tax Act would enable the sale of cannabis to help create and fund an agricultural committee to promote hemp fiber, protein and oil crops and associated industries. OCTA2012 is expected to provide millions of dollars a year to implement this important change.

Giving Farmers Back This Valuable and Environmentally Necessary Commodity

  • Hemp seed oil can be used as fuel to drive cars and heat homes because Hemp produces biomass, which can be converted into charcoal for electricity, ethanol, methanol and other sources of fuel. Burning biomass for energy, instead of fossil fuels, helps keep the carbon dioxide cycle in balance, and thus helps to stop global warming, instead of contributing to it as the burning of fossil fuels does.
  • An acre of hemp will produce from four to ten times as much paper pulp as will an acre of trees, over the period of time it takes pulp trees to grow to maturity, and hemp can be used to make paper more durable and environmentally friendly than wood. Changing to hemp-based paper could reduce deforestation by half. Hemp paper lasts hundreds of years longer than paper made from trees and doesn't require toxic bleaching chemicals.
  • One acre of hemp can produce 10 tons of biomass every four months of growing season. Hemp fuel is the most cost effective and environmentally friendly reusable energy source on the planet, and could potentially make the U.S. less dependent on foreign petroleum.
  • The cannabis sativa plant produces more protein, oil and fiber than any other plant on earth. Hempseed, for example, was an essential part of our ancestors' diet and is the source of "gruel," the porridge that is referred to in countless stories and books written before this century.
  • Hemp is an excellent food source, hemp provides nearly complete nutrition. Eating a diet rich in EFAs, Omega 3, 6, and 9, is one way to ensure health, because these essential fatty acids help to stimulate the heart and brain, as well as the immune system.

At the campaign kickoff, a series of three benefit concerts were announced, scheduled for the Fourth of July weekend. They feature reggae music legend, Toots & the Maytals. Toots' album, True Love, features duets with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Ben Harper, and No Doubt. True Love won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album of 2005.

Check out Toots Hibbert with Willy Nelson.
"Still is still moving to me" Live.

Toots & the Maytals will headline three shows, starting at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene on Saturday, July 2nd; followed by the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond on Sunday, July 3rd; and culminating at the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater in Portland on Monday the 4th of July.

The Independence Day Benefit will be the first show at Portland's Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater since Ziggy Marley played there 12 years ago and is expected to draw a large audience.

"I definitely feel good about the start," said Jennifer Alexander. "I think that we have a strong group of volunteers that will get the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act on the 2012 ballot.

"Oregon is one of the small number of states that allows a citizen's initiative, which is a very powerful tool. Oregonians have crafted many laws that would be unlikely to come out of the legislature, and this has enabled Oregon to be at the forefront of many different issues over the years, especially with cannabis."

In answer to a question foremost on many Oregonians' minds, what about the federal prohibition laws that the DEA insists on enforcing? Well, finally, "States Rights" may actually stand for something. The OCTA places the Oregon Attorney General in charge of defending those in compliance with the OCTA against federal charges as well as with promoting adoption of similar legislation at the federal level.

The majority of Oregon's populous has never been obsessed with criminalizing cannabis, and OCTA 2012 may be the turning point not just for the northwest state, but as a leader in the grassroots movement to end prohibition.

For many lifelong activists, this measure's success means an inevitable end to cannabis prohibition on the federal level. And that has already noticeably invigorated the movement.

Publisher Bonnie King has been with since August '04. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and NIE/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers. View articles written by Bonnie King
For more Cannabis-related stories and factual information, go to: Cannabis De-Classified

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Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Brandt April 1, 2011 6:11 pm (Pacific time)

Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at Drop in and let me know what you think!

Conservative Christian March 31, 2011 6:50 am (Pacific time)

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators for using a little marijuana. None of us would want to see our parent's home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants to ease the aches and pains of growing older. It's time to stop putting our own families in jail. It's time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards

this is getting old March 30, 2011 4:03 pm (Pacific time)

Listen this is getting old. Prohibitionist stop living in your fantasy land, its easier for your kids to buy cannabis than getting alcohol and tobacco, already been proven. Why? I think you already know the answer. But ill tell you what isnt helping, the pathetic 30 second above the influence commercials. The idiots that get high and drive are the very same idiots that drink and drive, there isnt going to be a brand new army of intoxicated drivers ruling the roads, get freaking serious. No revenue because everyone will grow their own. Again get freaking serious how many people make their own beer or grow their own tobacco, everybody is suddenly going to become an avid botanist, oh wait didnt you say all stoners do is sit on couches and eat cheetos. Its not that easy to grow good me. Ah the feds are going to wage all out war against us. Hmm, should we the people fear our own government? Dont like cannabis i have a solution. Dont freaking smoke it, go back to your scotch and stay out of matters that dont pertain to you.

J+ March 30, 2011 7:30 am (Pacific time)

Duncan, therein lies my concern ... Despite the supposed reclassification, there has been no corresponding chang e to the ORS criminal statutes. Possession of 1 ounce of Marijuana is still a Class-B Felony, reflecting Schedule-1 status, unlike drugs such as meth or cocaine (Schedule-2, and lesser C-Felonies). Having 1 cannabis plant without OMPP approval still = Schedule-1/Class-A felony. In fact, the only change to the legal code with that reclass came with putting so-called "synthetic cannabis" into the felony bracket (up from completely legal). I definitely DO need to do more research on how states with dispensiaries and sales tax operate, however, as this is where I see DoJ resisting any law passed (not simply ignoring possession). But as we have seen, state legality does nothing to stop Federal raids and Felony charges, which is why I maintain that the Federal CSA needs to be the real target, not State laws that merely mirror the Federal law (done via coercion to obtain Federal tax dollars etc.)

Jennifer Alexander March 30, 2011 4:22 am (Pacific time)

@J+ regarding your thought that there is "no way the Oregon DOJ would honor/enforce a provision..." I would encourage you to research the history of the Death With Dignity Act which had a similar conflict between state or Oregon and federal laws and the Attorney General vigorously defended AND WON before the federal government. While there is such a thing as the supremacy clause, it doesn't always give the feds carte blanche control, particularly if the correct legal arguments are made. While the Death With Dignity Act does not deal with marijuana - it does deal with the use of drugs to intentionally end the life of a person who is terminal...and therefore crosses into the same areas of law in many respects (ie drug enforcement/FDA/DEA, state v federal supremacy, etc)

Duncan20903 March 29, 2011 4:40 pm (Pacific time)

J+, Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310 (1927) says your wrong. The Oregon DoJ doesn't get to pick and choose which laws they will or will not enforce. I've no clue where you would get such an idea but it is incorrect.

As far as the sales go clauses like that can be held in abeyance until Federal law catches up. It's just like when the Oregon Board of Pharmacy moved cannabis from schedule I to schedule II last year. As far as the State of Oregon is concerned doctors can write cannabis prescriptions which would then filled by pharmacies. Neither will happen because of Federal regulation of both prescriptions and pharmacies. But it isn't the State of Oregon that is standing in the way of it happening.

Duncan20903 March 29, 2011 4:26 pm (Pacific time)

J+ you need to go back to school and repeat your 11th grade civics class. How long has the OMMA been in effect? Not as long as Prop 215 in California which is in it's 15th year, has been in front of the SCOTUS 3 times in 2001, 2005, and 2009 and is still the law of the land. The SCOTUS wasn't even interested in thinking about it in 2009.

One of the saddest things for me was the realization of the broad based, total lack of understanding how our government works among the people. It's one thing to not know something when it comes up, but 15 years into this thing there are still people who haven't figured out how a system of dual sovereigns actually works.

Take a look at Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310 (1927) if you want to know how these State/Federal interactions work according to current precedent. The Oregon DoJ isn't going to be able to dictate the law to the people. The government is a servant of the people, not their masters.

I have no clue what "unlimited liability" you think there is. The State has no liability for people who have developed cancer from smoking tobacco. Why in the world would you suppose there would be a liability from a much safer substance being legal?

Congrats to Oregon for having true friends of freedom in your population. It certainly looks like the idiocy of prohibition is in its death throws. The foundational cracks are deep and easily visible. It's time to tear down the wall.

Duncan20903 March 29, 2011 4:05 pm (Pacific time)

ExpectNoJobs, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. I hear North Korea is looking for people who want to live under an iron fist. Tell Kim Jong-il I said "죽어 버려" when you see him.

Portlander March 29, 2011 1:26 pm (Pacific time)

All victimless crimes should be legalized. I support this.

Expect No Jobs March 29, 2011 10:41 am (Pacific time)

Good-Bye Oregon. The final straw.

J+ March 29, 2011 7:17 am (Pacific time)

There is no way the Oregon DoJ would honor/enforce a provision, even with the backing of citizens in an election. "Supremacy Clause," they would declare. Even if they had the mind to respect the new Law, the unlimited liability / Federal warfare that would ensue surely would cause them to shelve the matter. But while open sales are not a possibility, perhaps DoJ would allow a relaxation of enforcement by state/county/local agencies. However, without a legal source of revenue for them to Tax...

Your neighbor March 29, 2011 3:13 am (Pacific time)

End the madness and legalize it! Let the people be free!

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