It's a bit strong, perhaps, to characterize the two marijuana legalization campaigns that emerged last year as rivals—though probably not that strong. The campaigns' primary movers and shakers began as a united front last summer, before something prompted the folks behind New Approach Oregon to part ways with longtime pot activist Paul Stanford, who promptly reignited his 2012 efforts.
And then there were elections complaints against Stanford from New Approach supporters. And allegations of one campaign attempting to steal another's signature gatherers. Okay, let's call it a rivalry.
New Approach, it seems, has prevailed. The campaign announced this afternoon it's collected 145,000 since March 28, well over the 87,213 valid signatures required to land on the ballot (many will be deemed not valid). It's stopped its canvassing and will turn in signature sheets tomorrow.
"We're going to qualify," says campaign spokesperson Peter Zuckerman, oozing the confidence New Approach—which has attracted the backing of establishment political operatives and multimillionaire pot advocates alike—has evinced for months.
Meanwhile Stanford's effort, the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), has also stopped canvassing, but for less ebullient reasons. Stanford said last week he was abandoning the fight, complaining that New Approach had syphoned all the big national pot money and that it couldn't get the signatures. As the Mercury reported, it had also faced mutiny and a labor strike from some of its canvassers.
Want to take a look at the law pot advocates are promising you'll be able to vote on in November? Here's a PDF.