Ore. to vote on marijuana legalization

SALEM, Ore. (BP) -- An Oregon initiative that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana has qualified for the November ballot, placing the state alongside two others that will consider on the issue.

The Oregon secretary of state announced Friday (July 13) that the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, as it is called, had qualified with 88,887 valid signatures, more than the 87,213 that are required.

Although 17 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, no state currently allows its recreational use. That could change in November, when Colorado and Washington state will join Oregon in voting on the issue. In essence, the initiatives would legalize and regulate marijuana in a similar manner to how alcohol is regulated.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that the Oregon initiative likely will face opposition from law enforcement. It will be known as Initiative 9.

California voters rejected a similar proposal in 2010, 54-46 percent. In California, opponents of legalization said legalizing it would lead to an increase in drugged drivers and road deaths, an uptick in marijuana's usage among teens and young adults and an increase in crime statewide. They also said the black market for marijuana would not disappear, as some supporters contend.


Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.