MEDFORD, Ore. — An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana could be on the November ballot in Oregon. Supporters of “New Approach Oregon” turned in 145,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office Thursday.
The impact could affect the medical marijuana industry, and local cities, which have already been dealing with the concept of medical marijuana dispensaries for months. Some cities have placed bans or moratoriums on the facilities. City leaders said any vote on marijuana legalization would throw another wrench into the process. They still want to see the long-term results of the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado before Oregon makes a decision.
“We haven’t seen all the ramifications of that yet,” said Bob Russell, Eagle Point Mayor. “And I’m not so sure it’s a great idea. Let’s let them be the guinea pigs.”
But the legalization effort is being welcomed by a medical marijuana dispensary in Gold Hill. Brie Malarkey, the owner of Breeze Botanicals, said some medical marijuana patients have to go through a long process to get an OMMP card, which is difficult for people in severe pain. She said legalizing and regulating marijuana would make that process much shorter.