Paul Stanford Drops Pot Legalization Efforts

More restrictive petition still on track to gather signatures needed to make the ballot

Longtime pot legalization advocate Paul Stanford announced Friday night on his show Cannabis Common Sense that he is dropping his efforts to get two marijuana legalization measures on the November ballot.

"We have decided, given that we were just at about 50,000 signatures, that we do not have the wherewithal to move forward and qualify for the ballot so we stopped this week our paid petition drive," Stanford said. "Initiative 53 is still out there… I liked ours better, but the big multimillionaire funders out there didn't so they backed I-53."

New Approach Oregon's initiative petition 53 places tighter limits on how many plants a person can grow, how much marijuana a person can keep and would require more stringent regulation. That campaign is moving forward, having gathered more than 100,000 signatures and raised nearly $1.7 million from state and national donors including $50,000 from the George Soros-backed Drug Policy Alliance.

Stanford put forward two initiatives – one that would amend the state constitution to legalize adult use of marijuana and a second that would allow for the use and taxation of marijuana.  Those efforts brought in nearly $300,000 according to campaign finance reports.

But his campaigns were made more difficult by complaints to the Oregon Elections Division over allegations of campaign finance violations and efforts by its paid canvassers to form a union.