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Oregon pot advocates to submit signatures for November vote

PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - Advocates of legal recreational marijuana in Oregon plan to submit a ballot petition with more than 145,000 signatures on Thursday to force a vote in November on legalizing pot.

"We are confident that our measure to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana will qualify for the November ballot and that Oregonians are open to the case for a smarter and more responsible approach to marijuana," said Peter Zuckerman, spokesman for New Approach Oregon, the group behind the measure.

A separate marijuana ballot measure was dropped for lack of signatures. To get on the ballot in Oregon, New Approach Oregon needs to turn in 87,213 valid signatures by July 3.  

Leaders of the group said in a statement they would submit the latest ballot petition to the Oregon Secretary of State's office in Salem on Thursday.

The planned ballot measure would legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 and older, a proposal that Oregon voters rejected in 2012.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but voters in Washington state and Colorado in 2012 became the first to approve recreational use for adults. Alaska voters will decide on the issue in August.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana.

(Reporting by Shelby Sebens, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Michael Perry)

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