Oregon pot measure struggles with fundraising

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Advocates who want to legalize marijuana in Oregon have raised almost no money for their effort and have less than $2,000 in the bank, campaign finance records show.

The campaign's $32,000 in total fundraising is a pittance compared with similar efforts in Washington state and Colorado, where voters also will be deciding in November whether to legalize marijuana. Washington's campaign has raised $4 million, and Colorado's $830,000.

Advocates are relying on grassroots support instead of the big-spending donors who have bankrolled marijuana legalization initiatives elsewhere, said Roy Kaufmann, a spokesman for the Yes on 80 campaign.

"Oregonians tend to not appreciate when a lot of outside money comes in to campaigns," Kaufmann said.

Proponents of other ballot measures were in a better financial position before Tuesday night's deadline to report campaign contributions and expenditures through Sept. 24.

State and national Realtor groups have chipped in nearly $2.7 million for a campaign asking voters to ban taxes on the transfer of real estate. Aside from a small one in Washington County, transfer taxes are nonexistent in Oregon.

Real estate agents say it's important to ensure they can't be created down the road.

A political committee supporting a measure to repeal the estate tax reported raising $130,000. Other well-funded political committees have also signaled their intent to spend money supporting the measure.

The estate tax is assessed on large inheritances and property transfers inside a family. Proponents of the measure say it's unfair to tax people when they die. Opponents say the measure would harm public services to benefit the rich.

Defend Oregon, a political committee run by the liberal group Our Oregon, is leading the opposition to both tax measures and also promoting a third the repeal of tax rebates known as the corporate kicker. It hadn't yet reported its campaign finance numbers.

Investors who want to build a casino in Wood Village also had not yet reported their latest campaign finance data, but they had spent $1.5 million through Aug. 24. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde reported contributing just over $1 million to oppose the casino.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.