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Signatures Turned In, Pot Advocates Look Toward November

OPB | June 26, 2014 3:28 p.m. | Portland

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Supporters of legalizing recreational pot dropped off boxes filled with hundreds of thousands of signatures to the Secretary of State’s office on Thursday. Advocates for New Approach Oregon showed off their haul to the media at the Multnomah County Courthouse in Portland before caravanning down to Salem to make the final drop.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for New Approach Oregon, speaks in front of Multnomah County Courthouse Thursday. The advocacy group then drove to Salem to deliver 145,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for New Approach Oregon, speaks in front of Multnomah County Courthouse Thursday. The advocacy group then drove to Salem to deliver 145,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office.

Peter Zuckerman / New Approach Oregon

The campaign collected more than 145,000 signatures. That gives them a 57,000-signature cushion to meet the requirement to get the initiative on November’s ballot. In other words, pretty good odds. And New Approach Oregon spokesperson Peter Zuckerman told the AP that it’s unlikely the group will be challenged.

If Oregon voters pass the measure, the state could become the third state to legalize recreational marijuana behind Colorado and Washington. Voters in Alaska are also set to vote on legalization this November.

The campaign trails to legalization in Colorado and Washington were paved with million of dollars and boasted dozens of television ads, ultimately snuffing out the opposition: Advocates for recreational marijuana in Colorado spent about $800,000 in advertising in 2012 while their Washington counterparts dropped  $2.8 million for TV ads alone.

It’s still early for any campaign ads to hit primetime, but if the Oregon initiative receives a nod from the Secretary of State, we’ll likely be bombarded with ads and money from outside interests, just like our Western neighbors.

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