The battle for marijuana reform is never over, even after a state votes to legalize marijuana. Oregon is a great example of that. Yes, the biggest part of the fight was won when Oregon Measure 91 was approved by voters on Election Day 2014. However, now there is still significant work to do to ensure that the law is implemented properly. Influencing the implementation process is something that opponents always try to do, whether it be marijuana policy related or otherwise. Politics is a dirty business, and marijuana opponents have historically been very good at meddling.
That’s why it’s important that people in Oregon realize who’s in charge of overseeing marijuana legalization implementation - Klamath County District Attorney Rob Patridge. Per an amazing article written for the Huffington Post by valued TWB contributor Russ Belville:
In addition to being opposed to the measure he’s now tasked with implementing, Rob Patridge lacks the fundamental understanding of both the science of cannabis use and the language of Measure 91. As a Southern Oregon TV station KTVL reported, Patridge opposed Measure 91 in part for its lack of an unscientific DUID standard. “Just like .08 is there for alcohol, that is not included in this particular measure,” said Patridge, revealing his ignorance of how marijuana has no reliable equivalent to the 0.08 BAC used to determine alcohol impairment.
Patridge was also upset that there weren’t any limits on licensing written into Measure 91. “You can be a producer, a distributor and a wholesaler and sell, so you can … hold all four licenses,” said Patridge, without any hint of the irony that he runs a commission that applies those same licensing procedures to alcohol – Measure 91 copied that language from the existing liquor laws Patridge’s OLCC enforces.
Earlier in the year, Patridge was explaining to a Salem, Oregon TV station KDRV that he and the OLCC aren’t competent to do the job. “We lack the training; we lack the testing that may have to go hand-in-hand with this. We lack, frankly some of the legal obligations that would have to go with this,” said Patridge.
While I’m hopeful that Mr. Patridge will respect the will of the voters and keep with the intent of what Oregon Measure 91 drafters intended, every Oregonian will have to keep a close eye on the process to see how it goes down. Will Mr. Patridge try to sneak in a per se DUII standard, similar to what Washington and Colorado have? Will he try to meddle with the licensing requirements and rules? Or will we see a bunch of rules that don’t make sense, because after all, by Mr. Patridge’s own admission, he lacks the skill set to handle this matter? Only time will tell.