Willie Nelson Supports Oregon Cannabis Tax Act


Houston Press

​Country music legend Willie Nelson has endorsed the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 (OCTA 2012), which is gathering signatures to qualify for the November general election ballot. If passed by the people of Oregon, OCTA 2012 would regulate the legal sale of marijuana through state-licensed stores, allow adults to grow their own, license Oregon farmers to grow marijuana for state-licensed stores and allow unlicensed Oregon farmers to grow hemp for fuel, fiber and food.

OCTA 2012 will raise an estimated $140 million a year by taxing commercial cannabis sales to adults 21 and older, and save an additional estimated $61.5 million as law enforcement, corrections and judicial attention can focus on violent crimes and theft.
“We estimate this will amount to $200 million a year more funding for state government,” the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) said. Ninety percent of those proceeds will go into the state general fund, seven percent for drug treatment programs, with one percent each going to drug education in public schools and to two new state commissions to promote hemp biofuel, hemp fiber and food.

Legalizing hemp and cannabis will create tens of thousands of new jobs, revitalize farming communities, and boost Oregon tourism, according to CRRH.

Paul Stanford
Paul Stanford, left, author of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012, and Willie Nelson

​In the early 1990s, OCTA 2012 author Paul Stanford accompanied Willie Nelson and Kentucky freedom fighter Gatewood Galbraith on part of their historic trip across Kentucky in Gatewood’s red Mercedes Benz station wagon, which ran on hemp biodiesel fuel in order to make a point and spread the word about the potential of the biodiesel industry in the U.S. 
Stanford and Nelson struck up a friendship that lasts until the present day. “So when I recently got a chance to hang out with Willie on tour, I approached him about endorsing OCTA 2012,” Stanford told Toke of the Town on Friday afternoon.
Willie, a longtime supporter of cannabis freedom, was quick to accept. According to Stanford, Nelson also plans to do more for OCTA 2012 in the near future.
Stanford told me that he has spent much of the past 20 years crafting and fine-tuning the language of OCTA 2012, including public polling and adjustment of the language to give it a better chance of passage at the ballot box.
One interesting and possibly crucial fact about the language of OCTA 2012, Stanford told Toke of the Town, is that the initiative is crafted to resist any federal attempts to quash it.
“In fact, I included a ‘poison pill’ in the language so that if the feds try to stop it, we’re well positioned to win in court,” Stanford told me.
The certified ballot title of OCTA 2012 is as follows:
Allows personal marijuana, hemp cultivation/use without license; commission to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation/sale
Result of a “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote allows commercial marijuana (cannabis) cultivation/sale to adults through state-licensed stores; allows unlicensed adult personal cultivation/use; prohibits restrictions on hemp (defined).
Result of a “No” Vote: “No” vote retains existing civil and criminal laws prohibiting cultivation, possession and delivery of marijuana; retains current statutes that permit regulated medical use of marijuana.
Summary: Currently, marijuana cultivation, possession and delivery are prohibited; regulated medical marijuana use is permitted. Measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws; distinguishes “hemp” from “marijuana”; prohibits regulation of hemp. Creates commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies, medical research facilities, and to qualified adults for profit through state-licensed stores. Ninety percent of net goes to state general fund, remainder to drug education, treatment, hemp promotion. Bans sales to, possession by minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit, minors barred. Commission regulates use, sets prices, other duties; Attorney General to defend against federal challenges/prosecutions. Provides penalties. Effective January 1, 2013; other provisions.