By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
Organizers of a new Oregon state marijuana legalization initiative campaign, Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 (OCTA 2012), are kicking off their petition drive and opening a new office. The Oregon Secretary of State’s Election Division just announced the approval of the petition, Initiative Number 9, for circulation and signature gathering on March 24.
Initiative organizers will have until July 7, 2012 to gather 90,000 registered Oregon voters’ signatures to qualify for the November 6, 2012 ballot.
Petitioners rallied at their new office in Portland starting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 28 and held a news conference at 10 a.m. 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.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 would 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.
OCTA 2012 will raise $140 million a year 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.
Initiative organizers estimate that this will amount to $200 million a year more funding for state government. Of those proceeds, 90 percent will go into the state general fund, seven percent will go to drug treatment programs, and one percent each for drug education in public schools and two new state commissions to promote hemp biofuel and hemp fiber and food.
OCTA 2012 is also announcing a series of three benefit concerts featuring reggae music legends, Toots & The Maytals on Independence Day weekend. Toots & The Maytals will headline three shows, starting at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene on Saturday, July 2, then the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond on Sunday, July 3, and culminating at the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater in Portland on Monday, July 4.
Toots & The Maytals’ first Jamaican hit recortd, “Do The Reggae” from 1966, named the new music genre and their music was featured in the 1972 cult movie classic, The Harder They Come. Toots has recorded with many other headliners, and his recent album, True Love, features duets with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Ben Harper, No Doubt and more.
True Love won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album of 2005. Toots & The Maytals hold the current record for #1 hits in Jamaica, with a total of 31.
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.