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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Marijuana Campaigners Turn In Petitions

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

Oregon could soon follow Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana.

Sponsors of an initiative to do that turned in boxes of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office Thursday. If enough of the signatures are valid, the measure would go before voters this fall.

Oregon 's potential ballot measure differs from Washington's marijuana law in that people would be allowed to grow their own weed in limited quantities. But in many ways the approach is similar. Pot sold in licensed stores would be taxed. Only adults age 21 and over could possess marijuana. And you wouldn't be able to use it in public.

Chief petitioner Anthony Johnson said he's not deterred by the fact that Oregon voters turned down the chance to legalize recreational pot just two years ago.

"This is a completely different measure than the one two years ago," he said. "It's much more regulated. It has lower possession limits. It utilizes an existing agency, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, to strictly regulate marijuana."

The initiative would not change Oregon's medical marijuana program. Money generated from taxing pot would go towards schools, law enforcement and drug treatment programs.