Signatures in for 6 potential OR measures

SALEM  — Backers of ballot measures that would make it legal for medical marijuana users to buy from state-regulated dispensaries and would open the way for Oregon’s first non-tribal casino turned in signatures Friday aimed at landing the initiatives on the November ballot.

Signatures for six measures were turned in before the deadline.

The Secretary of State’s Office has until Aug. 1 to verify if enough came from registered voters to meet the threshold of 82,769 signatures for statutory measures, and 109,843 for constitutional amendments.

Initiative Petition 28 would authorize nonprofit organizations to set up state-regulated dispensaries to sell marijuana to holders of medical marijuana cards, who now must grow their own supply or pay someone to grow it for them.

Backers previously said they had 74,537 validated signatures and were confident the 22,000 turned in Friday would put them over the top.

“The flaw with the current law expects sick and dying patients to produce their own medicine,” said John Sajo of the Voter Power Foundation. “For many it’s just impossible.”

Initiative Petitions 76 and 77 would make way for Oregon’s first non-tribal casino, which backers hope to build in eastern Multnomah County on the site of the old Wood Village greyhound track.

Measure 76 would amend the constitution. Measure 77 would cover changes to state law. The measures would put the casino under the authority of the state lottery and share 25 percent of revenue with counties and schools around the state.

“It is creating Oregon’s first taxpaying casino,” said petitioner Matthew Rossman, a Lake Oswego attorney.

The initial $250 million investment is backed by the Toronto merchant bank Clairvest, Rossman said. The project is in a race with the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington to tap the lucrative Portland market with a major casino and entertainment complex.

The Secretary of State’s Office website showed they turned in 176,566 signatures for the constitutional amendment and 136,938 for the statutory changes.

Initiative Petition 13 would impose a mandatory 25-year prison sentence for repeat rapists and other serious sex offenders, and 90 days in jail for people with a third conviction in 10 years for driving under the influence.

“This is the public saying, “We want more aggressive action by the state against drunken driving,” said conservative organizer Kevin Mannix, a former legislator and candidate for governor.

The Secretary of State’s officer reported that backers already had 66,716 valid signatures and turned in 46,471 more.

Initiative Petition 50 would amend the state constitution to put a committee of retired judges in charge of redrawing legislative district lines, rather than the Legislature. Backers said they turned in 125,948 signatures for verification.

Initiative Petition 70 would amend the constitution to permanently extend the 15 percent share of lottery funds devoted to salmon habitat and parks. Supporters turned in 192,678 unverified signatures.

Voters will also pass judgment on three constitutional amendments referred from the Legislature. One would expand the availability of home loans for veterans. Another would require the Legislature to meet annually and limit the length of sessions. The third would authorize lowest-cost borrowing for the state’s real and personal property projects.

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