A few years ago, Oregon medical cannabis patients and advocates launched a protest in front of The Oregonian’s office because the newspaper’s coverage of medical cannabis had gotten terribly offensive. In fact, the paper would refer to “medical” marijuana patients with quotes around medical, implying that all patients were faking their severe and debilitating medical conditions. The protest and subsequent conversation with the editorial board improved the paper’s coverage of medical marijuana and they agreed to drop the quotes.
Fast forward a few years and the editorial board has just endorsed Measure 91, a state measure that will legalize, regulate and tax marijuana like beer and wine, without impacting the state’s medical marijuana law. While we disagree with the editorial board’s contention that regulating marijuana will lead to more access by teens and more marijuana-impaired drivers, especially since the data out of Colorado shows that such fears have been overblown thus far as there hasn’t been the increase in highway fatalities or use by minors that prohibitionists predicted. Despite any nitpicks we have about the endorsement, it is absolutely huge that The Oregonian has endorsed Measure 91:
Measure 91 would move Oregon from a hazy condition of almost-legalization to one of rational access guided by straightforward regulations and subject to sensible taxation. In other words, it would force Oregon’s 16-year-old marijuana experiment out of adolescence and into legal adulthood. The measure appropriately leaves the task of regulating the new industry to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which knows a thing or two about the distribution and sale of intoxicants. The OLCC would adopt the necessary rules by 2016.
Measure 91, far from revolutionary, would simply allow Oregon adults to obtain something they may obtain now, but without having to stroll through a “medical” loophole or drive over a bridge to a neighboring state. The measure would be worth supporting for reasons of honesty and convenience alone, but it also would raise millions of dollars per year for schools and other purposes. For that reason, it deserves support even from those who aren’t normally high on taxes.
Measure 91 is a sensibly, well-regulated measure that will better prioritize police resources to combat serious and violent crime while generating millions of dollars for education, public safety, drug treatment, drug prevention and mental health services. It is a measure that will benefit Oregon and improve current marijuana policy. Please, vote yes on 91 and do what you can to help this important measure pass this November.