“We believe we are the first political organization in Oregon to do this,” said campaign manager Dan Mahr. “But more organizations will follow. Bitcoin is the currency of the Internet and of future generations. We are a cutting edge campaign that wants to make it possible for the online community everywhere to get involve and help Bitcoin’s progress.”
Bitcoin is a stateless digital currency. Rather than a government creating and controlling the flow of their own currencies, Bitcoin is created by its own users and verified through extremely secure cryptography. But the behind-the-curtain mechanics of the system are irrelevant; to the end user, it is as much “money” as the balance on a debit card or the limit on a credit card.
New Approach Oregon is the organization behind the lone surviving initiative to legalize marijuana in the Beaver State and it may be the first issue campaign in the nation to accept Bitcoin. However, several candidates for office have accepted Bitcoin campaign donations.
In January, Rep. Stockman announced he’d accept Bitcoin in his Texas campaign for Senate in 2014. By May, the Federal Election Commission unanimously ruled that Bitcoin was an acceptable source of campaign donations. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom began accepting Bitcoin for their campaigns.
Oregon is a logical first launch of an issue campaign accepting Bitcoin. Oregon is consistently a top five state in Google trends for Bitcoin. Its hippie-anarchist leanings and tech-friendly “Silicon Forest” location make it possible to spend a full day in Portland spending nothing but Bitcoin . (You can donate Bitcoin to the New Approach Oregon campaign to legalize marijuana here.)
July 3rd is the final day for signature turn-in for New Approach Oregon’s initiative. The campaign has already submitted over 145,000 signatures to meet the state’s requirement of 87,213 valid signatures and a few thousand more will be expected on the deadline date. Organizers are confident they’ll beat the 60 percent signature validity rate they’ll need and make the ballot in November, where they’ll join Alaska in pursuing adult marijuana legalization.
New Approach Oregon has also released their first television campaign ad featuring an eighty-year-old retired teacher extoling the virtues of marijuana legalization (you can view it here and donate to the New Approach Oregon campaign the old-fashioned check and card way here ).
The initiative, when passed, will legalize personal public possession of one ounce of marijuana. Home possession of an ounce of concentrates, a half-pound of marijuana, a pound of edibles, and a six-pack (72 ounces) of tinctures would be legal. Home cultivation of four plants per household would be legal. Marijuana markets would be made legal with unlimited licensing of growers, processors, and retailers, costing only a $250 application fee and $1,000 annual fee. There is no “vertical integration,” “tied house,” or state residency limitations; any adult may own many of any level of licenses or only one license. Localities could, however, vote to ban retailers through a local option petition.
"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of The Russ Belville Show.