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Legalized marijuana backers to take cause to Salem

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm •  Published: November 7, 2012

"The fact is, that there are probably around 300,000 or 400,000 Oregonians using cannabis recreationally and that is not going to change," said Berger. "There are places that distribute medical cannabis, and that is not going to change.

"The question for the Legislature initially, and if they don't take action for the people, is are we safer, and is it better for the community, if this is allowed to happen in an unregulated fashion, or should we adopt some reasonable regulations to control it," Berger said.

Oregon's marijuana legalization measure failed while measures in Washington state and Colorado passed.

Stanford blamed the loss on the lack of financial support from national marijuana advocacy organizations, and that lack of support on negative news coverage of him. But the director of one of those organizations said Stanford's measure was poorly written and early polling showed it had little chance of winning, though support appeared to build closer to election day.

Instead, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance in New York threw money to the Colorado and Washington campaigns, which offered much more responsible measures and better chances of winning, said executive director Ethan Nadelmann.

Nadelmann said taking the issue to the Legislature was a good strategy, but he expected that once a better measure is put before voters, more along the lines of those in Colorado and Washington, it will pass.

"I anticipate all sorts of people will be wanting to do this in Oregon in the next two or four years," he said. "I will do all I can to see that Oregon gets to vote on an initiative like the ones in Colorado and Washington.

"These were about responsible regulation of marijuana. These were not pro-pot. This was very much about people saying, 'We need to stop arresting people, we need to have police focus on real crime and take this out of the hands of criminals, and have the resulting tax revenue for government."