Sounds like Oregon legislators may take a crack at marijuana legalization before voters have the chance to decide on a ballot measure in November.
That's the case, at least, according to State Rep. Jennifer Williamson. The Portland representative told officials gathered at this morning's Local Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting she expects legislators could consider the matter during the legislative session that convenes February 3.
"I'm sure there will be a marijuana bill, or at least a conversation about a marijuana bill ahead of the measure," Williamson said.
The group New Approach Oregon filed an initiative petition to legalize pot back in October and, unlike an effort that went down in flames in 2012, this one appears to have the financial support to garner a win.
Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner, filed a revised initiative last week, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's Office. The language, though I haven't parsed it paragraph for paragraph, seems substantially the same, with an added bit about commercial hemp. Johnson hasn't responded to my queries about the new filing.
Regardless, New Approach Oregon has said it would welcome the legislature's involvement in the push for legal pot. If Williamson is to be believed—and she's usually knowledgable on law enforcement and justice matters—that's probably on its way.