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Two Marijuana Initiatives Filed For Oregon Ballot; Stay Tuned For More


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Paul Stanford, the Portland-based owner of a chain of medical marijuana clinics, has filed two new initiatives to legalize pot -- including one that was similar to the initiative he sponsored in 2012 that was defeated by Oregon voters.

Stanford took some heat from influential pro-marijuana activists for pushing ahead with a measure in 2012 that they thought was too expansive to win favor with voters.  While Washington and Colorado voters passed legalization measures at the same election, Stanford's measure was defeated in Oregon by six percentage points.

This time, Stanford said he is working with a broad coalition of pro-marijuana activists and will go ahead with the measure they decide has the best chance of passage.

"I'm not going to sit out there being a fly in the ointment," said Stanford.  "We're going to make a group decision, that's my plan."

The Legislature is considering a marijuana legalization measure, House Bill 3371, but its chances of passage this year appear slim.  Stanford said he expects a version of that bill to be introduced as an initiative if it can't pass the Legislature this year or next.

UPDATEAnthony Johnson of New Approach Oregon, which represents a coalition of groups promoting the House bill, said his group believes that they have come up with a better alternative.

"Something will be on the ballot," said Johnson, who is also executive director of the National Cannabis Coalition. "Either it's going to be a responsible measure or something not as well vetted."

One of the measures filed with the secretary of state's office by Stanford largely follows his 2012 initiative, which would establish a commission to regulate production and sales.

Stanford made two major changes in his latest proposal.  The commission would no longer be largely chosen by growers, retailers and others in the marijuana community but instead would be appointed by the governor.

"In retrospect, [the original commission proposal] was probably the most damaging thing in the campaign," said Stanford, arguing that a governor-appointed commission would be more palatable with voters.

Stanford's 2012 measure also allowed adults to possess an unlimited amount of marijuana.  In contrast, Washington and Colorado allowed adults to possess no more than an ounce of marijuana and Washington didn't allow people to grow marijuana at home.

Stanford's latest measure would put a limit on possession, but it's still relatively high.  He would allow individuals to possess up to 24 plants and 24 ounces of dried marijuana.

Stanford's other proposed marijuana initiative would constitutionally allow those aged 21 and older to possess and grow the drug.  It would, however, allow the state to "reasonably define, limit and regulate" marijuana.

While he was filing the marijuana proposals, Stanford also filed three other proposed constitutional amendments on other subjects.  He proposed the creation of a state bank, granting individuals more rights than corporations and additional restrictions on the commercial use of genetic material.

Stanford said he figured that canvassers could collect signatures on these measures at the same time they're working on a marijuana petition. 

Stanford needs to collect 1,000 signatures for each of the proposals to begin the process of receiving a ballot title from the state.  Once he gets that, he can proceed with collecting the 87,213 signatures he needs for the first marijuana measure and the 116,284 needed for the four proposed constitutional amendments.



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