By Bradley Steinman, 3L, President of Lewis & Clark Law SSDP
In the closing days of the most exciting election for marijuana justice in our nation’s history, Measure 80’s supporters have managed to pull off a last-minute surge in the polls. According to the most recent figures, support for Measure 80 may now be as high as 47%, with around 10% of voters undecided! Oregon’s chances to legalize marijuana have never been better than this very moment. Support for marijuana legalization among Americans is at a record high of 59%. It’s going to be close, and it’s not over till the fat lady sings.
Oregon is a vote-by-mail state, and ballots have been in the hands of voters for some time now. As of October 29th, only 25% of filled-in ballots have been received by the Secretary of State Elections Division. That means easily more than half of Oregon’s electorate is yet to submit their ballots. Traditionally, around 30% of Oregonians sit on their ballots, treating the national election day as their actual voting day.
Many of those that wait till the last minute to drop off their ballot in Oregon are the crucial undecided voters that advocates must persuade to pass Measure 80. We need to do a better job persuading women and elderly voters to vote yes on Measure 80. So call your Grandparents, talk to your Mom, talk to your girl buddies, and ask your girlfriend to vote Yes on Measure 80! Now is not the time to give up, and Oregon knows it.
If you are a lady, do not be afraid to stand up and speak out if you have not yet stepped up, Oregon needs you! World-Class advocates like Serra Frank of Moms for Marijuana, Lori Duckworth from Southern Oregon NORML, Anna Diaz from Women for Measure 80, Madeline Martinez of NORML, and Amanda Rains from the Measure 80 campaign have been making all the difference. These courageous and articulate female activists are one of the key factors driving Measure 80’s climbing support.
New organizations in support of Measure 80 continue to pop up, like Oregonians for Law Reform, Women for Measure 80, Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, Moms for Marijuana, National Cannabis Coalition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Americans for Safe Access, and many other pro-reform groups. We are stacked with world-class advocates in Oregon right now, such as the nation’s first openly pro-marijuana state Attorney General in history, Judge Ellen Rosenblum. Advocates have made pilgrimage or pit-stops in our state just to help us finish the fight, like Veterans for Medical Cannabis founder Michael Krawitz, Moms for Marijuana founder Serra Frank, Country music star Willie Nelson, and Judge Jim Gray, the Libertarian candidate for Vice President. Our local and state politicians have been doing their part as well, with both Mayoral candidates of Portland promising to vote yes on Measure 80, and candidates from across the political spectrum, from Democrats to Republicans, Libertarian to Green, and even Progressive Party candidates like Robert Wolfe all coming out strongly for Measure 80.
In spite of the mainstream media’s incessant fear mongering, fallacious logic and nay-saying, character assassinations of Measure 80’s proponents, and mockery of the initiative we managed to put on the ballot for Oregonians to vote on, Measure 80’s campaign is thriving. Despite a lack of sufficient funding to run anything but a grassroots campaign, we are gaining strength. In spite of discriminatory advertising campaigns that belittle medical marijuana patients by equating marijuana use with crystal meth and heroin, we fight back. Instead of ‘Meth Girl,’ Oregonians get to see OLR’s ‘Yes On 80’ billboard.
As more and more Oregonians find out that legalization is actually on the ballot for the first time in decades, (generally by actually taking a look at their ballot), support for Measure 80 is ballooning! We have been mocked and dissed time after time, but we are getting the job done, in spite of the opposition, in spite of having our hands tied behind our backs, we are on track to make history.
To win, we need to persuade more women and grandparents. Talk to your mom and girlfriend about measure 80. Talk up the reasons to end prohibition to your Grandma and Grandpa. Make a phone call to an Oregonian voter to persuade them to vote yes by using Just Say Now’s phone-bank. Donate to Measure 80’s campaign, or Oregonians for Law Reform. Come out of the closet for legalization yourself.
In spite of everything, Oregon’s Measure 80 is in great position heading into November 6th. The secret is….there is no secret. It is due to unity, passion, courage, love, hard work, and an unshakeable belief that prohibition has failed. Money has nothing to do with redemption and justice.
Oregon’s legalization movement has one thing that matters more than all the campaign funding in the world: unity within the marijuana movement. Marijuana legalization efforts fail when we are our own worst enemies. Our enemy this time is the standard prohibitionist regime. That bodes well for us.
Now the Measure 80 grassroots campaign is sweeping the state.