Thursday, October 31, 2013

Will Oregon be next to legalize weed?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 12:29 PM

If the name New Approach Oregon sounds familiar, it should. New Approach Washington led last year's successful push to legalize recreational marijuana in Washington. Now, the Oregonian reports our neighbors have filed a new initiative following Washington's (and Colorado's) lead. If state legislators don't approve New Approach Oregon's measure, the group plans to begin collecting signatures to put it on the ballot in 2014. With more than $100,000 raised — $50,000 from the George Soros-backed Drug Policy Alliance, which also supported Washington's effort — resources shouldn't be a problem.

While the group's law is similar to Washington's I-502, it doesn't establish the same explicit driving-while-high regulations and it would allow home grows, which are illegal in Washington. A legalization measure in Oregon last year would have allowed home grows and didn't place limits on possession, but it failed at the ballot box. So, a measure with more regulations — like the strict age, possession, location and advertising limits in Washington's 502 — could gain more widespread support.

Meanwhile, the ACLU of California announced a panel led by the state's governor to explore legalizing marijuana there. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says it will push for legalization in Maine. And the owner of a hemp clothing store who's helping to push a legalization measure in Washington, D.C. told reporters earlier this month, "I imagine the president rolling up a tobacco-marijuana cigarette with John Boehner and sitting on the back porch of the White House to work out their problems."

Yeah, OK.

But while that may be a long shot, the public tide appears to be turning. According to Gallup, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans (58 percent) support legalizing the drug. Among young people, support for legalization is at 62 percent, and nearly 40 percent of Americans say they've tried marijuana.

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...