Oregon’s general election ballots went to print today, and IP-24, an initiative which would eliminate criminal penalties for the personal use of marijuana by individuals aged 21 and over, did not make the cut.
The petition was not allowed onto the ballot because too many of their signatures were deemed invalid for the petition to qualify for the ballot. Chief petitioner Bob Wolfe has sought an injunction to disregard the rejection of the signatures, but IP-24 will still not be allowed to be on the ballot because the printing deadline has passed.
Wolfe believes that Secretary of State Kate Brown’s office failed to establish rules for verifying the legitimacy of signatures on petitions, as is required under Oregon state law. Instead of establishing rules, Brown’s office used directives which, according to Wolfe, lack legislative oversight and public comment. Wolfe explained, “Her actions distance voters from access to the ballot and make the process more expensive and more difficult; we think that’s unconstitutional.”
According to Wolfe, many signatures were inappropriately deemed invalid because the voters were “inactive.” However, under state law, inactive voters are still considered “qualified voters.”
In a study of Brown’s offices findings, there were error rates of up to 17%.
The court case against the Secretary of State is continuing, but the time frame that allowed voters to address the issues has passed, so Wolfe and I-24 are out of contention for ballot placement this election.
Wolfe isn’t giving up, but he is encouraging supporters of IP-24 to back the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012, Measure 80, which had a validity rate of 58.83% when signatures were submitted to Brown’s office.
The goal of OCTA 2012 is similar to the goal of IP-24. Backers want to legalize marijuana use and distribution for individuals 21 and older. The intention is to restore the hemp industry, shrink the black market, generate tax revenue for Oregon, and create jobs in the marijuana industry.