Nov 052012
 

election day oregon measure 80Oregon Will Continue To Be At The Forefront Of Marijuana Reform In The Future

Oregon’s most recent poll has Measure 80 sitting at 42% in favor, 49% against and around 10% undecided. While the media tends to spin these numbers in a negative light, I can’t help but see anything other than positive momentum. A previous poll from a few weeks back had support sitting around 37%. A 5% increase shows us that what we are doing IS working, but with only three days left until election day, it’s coming down to the wire in Oregon.

For months Oregon activists have been taking the brunt end of criticism for being far behind Colorado and Washington in the polls and in fundraising. I will admit that this was to be expected as soon as Measure 80 was rumored to have made the ballot. As soon as it did, the complaints and criticism started to roll in. Even with the ridicule and negativity, we decided to continue moving forward and work with what we had. Many people told us it was going to be a waste of time. “Just wait till 2014 or 2016″ they said.

The past few months have given me a new perspective on how communities, organizations and activists could and perhaps should go about facilitating and running a legalization campaign in Oregon. The experience we have had in Oregon this election has been an amazing learning process. A process that has made us stronger.

measure 80 billboard

So what’s next for Oregon if Measure 80 passes?

If Measure 80 passes we will soon find ourselves at the table with the federal government. Many people have expressed their fears of having this conversation. Perhaps rightfully so.

The fear is that if we pass the law, the federal government will simply strike it down and/or just continue to enforce federal law. This could very well be the case. But we need not be afraid of the conversations we must have in order to move forward on the issue of ending marijuana prohibition. We can certainly count on the federal government doing something, but we won’t know until we cross that bridge.

Legalization of marijuana will never be a top down process. If we want change in federal law, the states must stand up – with a united voice - just as Oregon, Washington and Colorado are doing now. As my good friend Russ Belville stated in a Measure 80 panel discussion held at PSU last week, “If slavery was on the ballot but didn’t have a shot at standing
up in federal court, would you still vote against it?”.

On top of federal intervention, we would also need to address the regulations and composition/duties of the Oregon Cannabis Commission (OCC) that would be set up through Measure 80.

The number one complaint about this commission is that five of the seven members will be selected from the grower/marijuana industry. From a public perspective, this may seem a little daunting. After all, marijuana growers and industry members are still treated as outcasts so it would make sense for people to have a reaction to giving them a majority of votes on the commission.

There are two points here to settle the public’s concern.

The first point that has yet to be mentioned in the mainstream media is that if Measure 80 passes, the governor picks all seven members who sit on the OCC in the first year of operation. This should settle public fears about some kind of “marijuana monopoly” that I commonly hear from voters and politicians.

The second point is that it just so happens that the liquor commission is set up the same way. The alcohol industry is heavily involved with how there own regulations are set. After all, who knows alcohol better than those who create and distribute it? The same can be for marijuana growers and suppliers.

rep peter buckley oregon measure 80

OK, so what if Measure 80 fails?

I can safely say that I know there will be efforts to run a legalization campaign in Oregon in 2014, and if not then most certainly 2016. I can say from personal experience that Oregon activists have learned more than we could have ever expected to in this election. AND we plan to put our newly gained knowledge to good use in the years to come.

Regardless of what happens in Oregon with Measure 80, we will continue to fight the injustices that come with marijuana prohibition in Oregon, and around the country.

Follow me on Twitter @SeriouslySamuel

joyce segers us congress oregon measure 80

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About SamChapman

Sam Chapman has dedicated the last seven years of his life to leadership, activism, progressive legal reform, and social media. He has been a crucial member of the End Prohibition Again Campaign, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, as well as a strategic framer for Occupy Eugene. Beyond drug policy reform, Chapman has served as the Associated Students of the University of Oregon Campaign Manager, College Outreach Coordinator for the Measure 74 Campaign, and currently runs a social justice organization, the Interpretive Framing Group. Chapman’s expertise also includes his ability to develop diverse networks of people through the power of social media. Chapman seeks to challenge outdated status quos and policies through his public speaking, leadership, and social media skills.
  • Phe

    Time to legalize or fight for freedom

  • Smily

    A Yes vote would create tons of jobs.

  • Smily

    I actually only voted because of this measure. I don’t even smoke cannabis, but used too. I see it being a lot more safe than alcohol. Plus, nobody gets stoned and kills people, but that does seem to happen when people consume alcohol.

  • http://www.recklesscognition.tumblr.com/ Reckless Cognition

    To be so close with the limited time, budget, and resources that Measure 80 have is a MAJOR accomplishment. I had been supporting 64 in Colorado until about a month ago when I saw a cross post on Facebook talking about Measure 80 in Oregon. I had no idea we even had this on the ballot and I was helping out on the 64 campaign.

  • DavidTheExpert

    I think it’s amazing that this is even a close race, in any of the three states. 10 or so years ago, these measures would probably only have like 20% support. But the fact that it’s nearly 50% in Oregon and ABOVE 50% in the other two states is simply amazing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/albertkaufman11 Albert Kaufman

    can’t wait to read tomorrow’s blog post :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Greig/679633622 Jim Greig

    You accomplished a lot in these last few months and I am proud to know you. It’s unfortunate we learn more from a loss than a win. Let’s use that knowledge in ’14 or ’16 to win.

  • anon

    What is really sad is that most of the argument against measure 80 in the voters handbook is all CORRELATION=CAUSATION. At least as an issue that seems to appear on Oregon ballots often it looks as if small steps in progress are being made

  • Greg

    This measure NEEDS to be passed, marijuana prohibition is wrong, it’s a medicine, and not only that, it’s safer then both tabacco products and alcohol.

  • Ern1124

    I wish this would have passed! I don’t smoke and not everyone does but this would generate money and jobs!!

  • MaDCat421

    Just in amazement. I’m from Oklahoma, Currently in Oregon during this measure 80 – Scratching my head… Going, You must be nuts not to pass this and legalize it. It’s in just massive quantities and abundance statewide. Has numerious benefits. Better than smoking cigarettes & drinking with way lower death ratio. Federal and State Tax revenue by selling it (knowing what your buying is good). No arrests, No jail, No cops – No more wasting tax payers money on this drug war, when the real focus should be on harder homemade bath tub drugs instead of a naturally growing plant. Even Oklahoma, has become so goofy that you can’t buy the packet herbal smoke and have any kind of pipe on you with it. There’s your CDS charge – What..? The next thing you’ll be charged with is a CDS for smoking grass clippings out of your lawn. Oklahoma challenge: Detective pipe and legal herbal smoke, cop stop, charged CDS for something that can be purchased legally – Are you serious? I would love to sit in on the court cases for this. What a waste of time and money including taxpayers. Welp, Oregon at least you have two people from out of town helping in the support for ya – Fire IT Up!!! Why hmmm and hawww and vote on it… Just pass it and do something more productive with your time and peoples money. Hopefully, Year 2014 or 16 – maybe sooner depending if they come to their senses and just legalize it. Hit us up on PS3 – MadCat421.