Salem, Ore. – Supporters and organizers of Initiative 9, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), submitted 165,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office this morning, on the final day for initiatives to qualify for Oregon’s November ballot, with possibly thousands more being prepared for turn-in at the end of the day.

“With nearly double the signatures needed, we’re confident we’ll qualify for the ballot and we’re excited to start reaching out to common-sense Oregon voters across the state,” said chief petitioner Paul Stanford, chief petitioner.

The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would regulate cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older, with sales through state-licensed stores only and 90 percent of tax revenue going to the state’s battered general fund. The measure would also approve and help kick-start an agricultural hemp industry in Oregon.

Taxing and regulating cannabis and agricultural hemp will create thousands of Oregon jobs, from agricultural jobs in hard-hit rural counties to manufacturing and engineering jobs in big cities and small towns. With countless applications in fiber, medicine, biofuel, food and consumer health products, hemp is a natural fit for Oregon world-leading sustainability economy.

“A regulated hemp and marijuana industry in Oregon is about jobs, it’s about economic development,” said Jeff Anderson of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555, which recently endorsed the Cannabis Tax Act. “We need to stop wasting time and allow Oregon’s entrepreneurs to create living-wage jobs. The time is now.”

Replacing a failed prohibition policy with a common-sense regulation approach will also deliver significant public safety benefits, freeing up much-needed law-enforcement resources – from jail beds to court dockets to police arrests – to focus on serious crimes and threats to the community.

“As a grandmother, a mother, a woman of color and a retired maximum-security prison corrections officer, I believe prohibition has failed us and regulation is the only fair, just and sensible approach,” said Madeline Martinez, who represented the advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at the signature turn-in press conference.

To learn more about the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, visit www.octa2012.org.