The campaign to legalize marijuana in Oregon through a statutory initiative was dealt a blow this week when the Secretary of State’s office revealed the results from the verification of signatures turned in during the early submittal period. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act has posted 55,869 valid signatures with 87,213 valid signatures required by July 6 in order to place marijuana legalization before the voters in November.
Of the 107,992 unverified submitted, 12,436 were rejected before the verification process, leaving 95,556 unverified signatures. From those, 55,869 were found to be valid, for a validity rate of 58.47%. However, if one recognizes the originally submitted figure of 107,992 as a barometer of petitioning effort and success, the validity rate falls to 51.73%.
With just 55,869 signatures, OCTA has only 64% of the total needed to make the Oregon ballot in November. Activists now have three weeks to collect 31,344 more valid signatures. Given the previous 51.73% turn-in validity, this would mean 60,592 signatures are likely needed to give Oregonians the chance to vote on a marijuana legalization initiative.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act is the brainchild of Paul Stanford, an Oregon marijuana legalization activist with over three decades of dedication to this cause and owner of the nation’s largest chain of medical marijuana evaluation clinics. On the June 4th debut episode of The Russ Belville Show, Stanford was sanguine about the chances of OCTA making the ballot, saying,
There is an excellent chance this year, right now we’re at about 120,000 total signatures… we figure we need to get it up to 140 or 150 thousand to ensure that we qualify… we’re going strong, gathering about 10,000 signatures a week and we’re very confident that we’re going to make the ballot with the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act this year.
150,000 signatures at 51.73% equals 77,595 valid signatures, or 9,618 signatures short of making the ballot.