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Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 17 July 2012

At least one measure aiming to legalize marijuana use in Oregon will be on the November ballot.

Petitioners submitted 151,870 signatures in support of "The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act," (IP9) and the Secretary of State's Office validated 88,887 of them, more than enough to qualify.

If passed, the initiative will permit cultivation, production and sale of marijuana through state licensed stores. It also will allow users to grow marijuana for their own use.

Watch Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis on PBS. See more from KUSM.

The Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative has submitted more than 175,000 signatures, supporting Initiative Petition 24, an amendment to the Oregon Constitution that would make marijuana possession by adults a constitutional right. That petition seems doomed to fail, since it needed 116,000 signatures to qualify, and the Secretary of State's office rejected about 48 percent of the first batch of signatures submitted in May. I24 petitioners say the Secretary of State's Office is rejecting too many valid signatures, and they filed a lawsuit against Brown last week.

Marijuana will also be on the ballot in Colorado and Washington this fall. The measures are the latest of nine statewide attempts to legalize use of marijuana since 1972. All the previous measures failed.

In Oregon, pro-marijuana activists are hopeful the measure will pass this year, after Judge Ellen Rosenblum soundly defeated former federal prosecutor Dwight Holton, in the Attorney General's Democratic primary. The candidates barely differed in their public statements about medical marijuana, but pro-marijuana groups opposed Holton because as a federal prosecutor he had authorized raids on grow operations. The general election, however, will bring out far larger numbers of voters from across the political spectrum.

How do the three measures differ?

The Washington measure, "New Approach Washington" (I-502) allows for adults to possess an ounce of cannabis solids and 72 ounces of liquids/ tinctures. Cultivation for personal use is not permitted. Growers, processors and sellers would be licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The Washington measure also sets a blood THC limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter for drivers. THC is the main active ingredient in marijuana. The initiative would levy a 25 percent excise tax at each point of sale, including between growers, processors and retailers.

The Colorado Measure, "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol," (A-64) allows adults to grow six plants (three in flower) for personal use. Adults can possess of up to an ounce of cannabis. The measure would levy a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale exchanges, from cultivator to retailer, for example. Colorado's current DUII law would apply.

The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act allows for cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana, and creates an Oregon Cannabis Commission to regulate cultivation, production and sales. It doesn't put a limit on the amount any person can possess, and doesn't say how it should be taxed. It does say that the proposed Cannabis Commission should regulate stores, much as the Liquor Commission regulates sales of spirits. Oregon's current DUII law would apply.

All three measures ban use or possession by minors (under 21) and forbid public consumption. TheWeedBlog.com has made a comparison table.

Even if voters pass the measures, they are bound to face legal challenges, because federal law still prohibits possession and use of marijuana.

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