Aug 272014
 August 27, 2014

new approach oregon marijuana legalizationLaw enforcement is supposed to be impartial when enforcing Oregon laws. They are not supposed to carry out their own agendas or infuse their own political beliefs into their jobs. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to marijuana. In my home state of Oregon, the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association seems to always lead the charge when it comes to anti-marijuana politics.

There was supposed to be an anti-marijuana summit in Madras, Oregon, but after it became known that taxpayer dollars were going to fund the politically motivated event, the event sponsor pulled the plug. This left marijuana legalization opponents scrambling to find funding for the event. The Oregon Sheriffs’ Association announced Monday that they would be helping fill the funding void by making a $10,000 donation to the event. Per the Oregonian:

The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association on Monday donated $10,000 to organizers of an event in Madras that will kick off a series of “marijuana education” talks statewide.

The infusion of cash comes as Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche scrambles to raise money to keep the Madras event going. The event is part of a series of community forums on marijuana. Its future was unclear after BestCare Treatment Practices, a non-profit that runs treatment prevention for Jefferson County, ended its sponsorship.

BestCare originally planned to use $15,000 in federal dollars to help put on the Madras event. The agency pulled out after pro-marijuana legalization advocates questioned the use of federal funds to underwrite what they see as a political event within weeks of the November election.

The President of the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association is Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt. Mr. Bettencourt has made claims that legalization will tear apart families and cause more deaths. He also made claims that he has responded to many calls where people were high on marijuana and were hallucinating, and that people high on marijuana feel they have the ability to stop a moving train. If Mr. Bettencourt could back of any of these claims with facts and evidence, I’d love to see it. I can’t wait until marijuana is legalized in Oregon so that the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association can find something else to do with their days, preferably fighting crime instead of trying to influence the political process.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
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  • overtaxed

    Would you mind telling me how the hell any public paid service with tax dollars has any surplus of funds or the right to give those funds to anyone for any reason period, let alone an agenda to finance? That screams illegal use of taxes and fraud to me at the very least. The next time those morons put out a vote for a raise or any additional taxes they need a very clear reminder flipped back at them of this misappropiriation of funds.

    • incredulous

      Could you imagine the outrage if any other public employee or employee group used their position to promote measure 91? For instance, could what would be the response if a group of university professors used class time to promote marijuana legalization? What if the Oregon Department of Revenue took a position in favor of the measure, because it would boost tax revenue? Or individual employees of that department? All hell would break loose, but since it’s law enforcement, and the issue is opposing marijuana legalization, they get a free pass. Enough of this nonsense already. Time for some accountability.

    • Sarijuana

      They are non-profit and can do whatever they want with their money. They are not a public paid service, and are not funded with tax dollars. (Don’t shot me – I’m just the messenger.) Many 501(c)(3) organizations are classified as “education” groups and so this is right up their alley, because no one says the education has to be sound or correct. From their website…
      Donations to OSSA
      a 501(c)(3) organization,
      are tax-deductible.

      …just in case you want to donate. LOLOLOL

  • Dabner420

    A 501(c)(3) corporation may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

  • Choom Gang

    Being political while in uniform is illegal. They are donating the money in the name of Oregon Sheriffs’ Association.

    Are the Sheriffs that are in support of measure 91 going to donate in the name of the sheriff department? Can you see how supporting a political cause in the name of a public office is a conflict of interest, and illegal? In an extreme example; what if members of the armed forces were political on whether or not to fight in a conflict. What if the armed forced campaigned to nuke DC?

    I think LEAP should file a lawsuit.

    • incredulous

      As a public employee, I completely agree. This campaign by the sheriffs is unseemly, and unbecoming of public officials. I do not use my position as a public employee to promote my personal political causes. In fact, I would expect to be disciplined if I did. At the very least, LEAP or some other groups should look into the legality/ethics of using your public office not to do your job, but to promote your personal political agenda.

      • painkills2

        You’re not allowed to promote any “personal political causes” at all? What if you wanted to promote medical cannabis?

        • incredulous

          by that i meant in an official capacity, or on official time, or using public resources. for example, an employee of the department of revenue using their position within the department to advocate for a political cause, rather than advocating as a private citizen on their own time. it is fine to promote personal political causes on one’s own time and with one’s own money, whether you’re a public employee or otherwise.

          • painkills2

            Good to know, thanks. But, isn’t that what these cops are doing? I guess I’m confused…

          • incredulous

            My understanding is that they have been using taxpayer money and their status as public officials to promote and organize these events. You do not see public school teachers getting their school districts to pay for political campaigning, or to organize events that promote their issues, on the taxpayers’ dime. I think if you did, there would be a public outrage. You don’t see a state district court judge using the court’s time as a platform to air his or her political views. These sheriffs need to be held to the same standard that all other public employees are.

          • painkills2

            It is only retired law enforcement that has backed legalization, and if we want current officers to join our side, don’t we have to also let them join the other side?

    • Cyndysub

      It just shows that they are insecure mamas boys that did not possess the intelligence to get a job anywhere else. The southern “Good Ole Boy” mentality is alive and kickin all over the USA. That’s why the murder happened in Ferguson MO and elsewhere in the country. They are just like the cop that made those Racist,Sexist,Homophobic and Crazy rantings at the “Oathkeepers” meeting Video where I heard people in the audience snickering in agreement during the rant and after the Oath Keepers saw the media exposure they ran for cover and said he wasn’t one of theirs and said that what the officer said is not what they believe. Bullshit!

    • Cyndysub

      I just sent Neill Franklin at LEAP an email telling him about this but I wonder if anything will come of it.

  • mike1188

    First of all the sheriff department does not and should not make laws it is there job to enforce the law that’s it.
    2nd the only reason why they are against legalization is because of all the property the can steal from people (oh wait confiscate from people).
    3rd I have been high many people I know have been high and never ever have I or anyone ever said that they hallucinated from marijuana. What do you mean cops don’t lie.? If that isnt a lie than I walk on water.

    • painkills2

      Haven’t you heard of Maureen Dowd at the New York Times?

      “…where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours.”

      • Cyndysub

        She lies for a living.

        • painkills2

          Don’t we all.

      • inky

        people get scared when this happens and go to the emergency room but all they have to do is wait it out. it’s actually a theraputic dose that has had unpleasant side effects because you’re not used to the dosage. not only does it not hurt you but is beneficial to many bodily systems. hopefully you will quickly learn you didnt like the side effects and you will be more careful in the future. anti-legalization folks put this up as some kind of terrible consequence of the ‘drug’ but it’s just the result of prohibition and poor dessemination of information by conventional media. it’s also new to a lot of people(kids) so they do dumb things with it. But this is absolutely no reason to prohibit a substance that that has such unequaled abilty to heal and ease suffering.

      • MrPC

        Poor Maureen. She is smart enough to write for one of the most important newspapers on the planet, but too stupid to read the damn directions.

  • dabner420

    i think the IRS should go after their Tax exempt status

  • Fester09

    Wow…as a Washingtonian…wow

  • Sarijuana

    It’s one thing to endorse something or not, Sheriff’s Depts. do it all the time. But the money donation is creepy. I hope these “education summit” have some debunkers in attendance.

  • Lone Ranger

    In particular, as far as Oregon sheriffs, washington county just had a entire family drown at a washington county, Hagg Lake. There was a similiar almost drowning of a bunch of kids but were saved…..They are quick to support their Gestapo tactics, but as far as the citizen….Hah! Why, if they are to protect and serve us, why didn’t they put a warning sign at that area????? There was a steep dropoff and the entire family went to rescue the little boy and they all dropped off the, shores steep edge and sank into the water where they all drowned! That’s just a sign of the times as far as the police and WE THE PEOPLE……the cops priorities are a bit twisted!

  • raykaye

    Seems to me, while we need law enforcement, things have been getting way-y out of hand for a very long, long time. Ever wonder why there is never a cop around when you need one? Taa-dah!!

  • Captain Obvious

    They lie so much they believe themselves. Police can lie to us without accountability, but we cannot lie to them. I guess they are what they do; useful idiots of the corporate interests and unlimited printed money for perpetual war that only rewards engineering a hell on earth with more funding.

  • painkills2

    Now, who wants to attend these functions with a recording device? Sure, it would be boring, but maybe you could find something like this:

    12/10/12, NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s comments about 47 percent of the population dependent on the government and “binders full of women” topped this year’s best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

  • Cyndysub

    Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt “claims that legalization will tear apart families and cause more deaths” What a complete idiot he is. The Dea and Law Enforcement as well have torn apart many many lives and caused many deaths in their Cowboy Yee Haw Maniacal fits of Overzealous Psychotic violence and dumb ass tactics like attacking sleeping families that had nothing to do with the crazed DEA witch hunt for imagined folly of wrongdoing.

  • notafan

    Explain to me why and how the barge ran into the bridge in Tampa Bay killing innocent people and damaging the bridge, roads, property, and people’s lives, and why several of the train derailments killing more people and untold damages in FL, other areas and the engineers tested positive for marijuana use and their judgment was impaired while on the job – how is that information not typical of the impairment from marijuana?
    Yes, we all know it is irresponsible for users to smoke on the job, but that didn’t stop these men from causing enormous injuries, death and destruction. How can the W C insurance companies pay for the injuries caused by using while on the job? I think this legalization of any type of marijuana will be more costly to society than the alcohol abuse already rampant across the country. Take a car ride through the Indian reservations throughout the west and see the poverty that these people face daily and picture other areas just like it in 10 years. What help do they have to improve their lives and the lives of the children growing up in that influence?

    • Randy Baker

      If there was a way of proving that marijuana wasnt a cause in those accidents just like there is no way for you to prove it was. i bet I would win.

    • Dabner420

      Please explain to me the lack of illicit drugs, but the presence of high BAC in the Exxon Valdez captain?

    • Dabner420

      If the Native Americans were allowed to grow Hemp, cannabis’ non-psychoactive cousin, they could most likely pull themselves out of poverty.
      If they weren’t jailed and criminalized with felony records for consuming a plant, they would have a much better chance of becoming, and staying, productive members of society.

    • stellarvoyager

      The prohibitionist trolls are lying again, I see. The individuals to whom you refer tested positive due to prior marijuana use off the job, days or weeks before. That means that they cannot have been “under the influence” of marijuana at the time of the incidents. It also means that your contention that they were using marijuana “on the job” is false.

      So instead of the fake fearmongering and phony outrage, why don’t you guys stick to the facts and hard data? Like Colorado, where the number of fatal car accidents is near an all-time low. Or the fact that medical marijuana states have less crime and fewer auto fatalities than non-medical marijuana states? I know: it’s because the facts don’t fit your agenda, so you must make up lies and distortions to appeal to people’s fears, prejudices and preconceived notions about marijuana. Science and the truth are the prohibitionists’ worst nightmare!

    • stellarvoyager

      I call BS on this “Tampa Bay barge” incident. I searched for information about a collision of a barge with a bridge in Tampa Bay, and the only information I found was about an accident that happened in 1980, involving a freighter called the Summit Venture. If you have to reach that far back for your propaganda, then your argument is already pretty weak. In fact, it was determined that the cause of the accident was bad weather. There was no mention of cannabis use or positive cannabis tests in any of the articles I read.

      http://www.sptimes.Com/News/050700/TampaBay/Horrific_accident_cre.shtml

      In fact, the pilot of the ship was cleared of all wrongdoing.

      http://en.wikipedia.Org/wiki/Sunshine_Skyway_Bridge#The_Summit_Venture_disaster

      Facts, logic and data don’t support your position, so you resort to making stuff up in order to scare up opposition to legalization. That is pathetic. You’ll have to do better than that if your goal is to persuade the undecided.

    • Cyndysub

      Someone can smoke some pot one time a week before and when tested THC is found and that IN NO WAY indicates an impairment. News Media people are just looking to make their stories sensational when they are not. Booze doesn’t show up a week later so the true scale of this remains hidden. Besides, pot doesn’t impair people in the same way. Pot does not affect coordination like Alcohol does or lack of sleep.

      People driving cars,trucks,trains,busses,boats,ships,and planes should not be under the influence of any drug. People that use drugs including Alcohol while operating machinery or driving any type of vehicle should have Harsh penalties that could not be plea bargained away.

      “and the lives of the children growing up in that influence”
      The same thing could be said for Alcohol. The captain of the exxon Valdez was drunk and many train drivers and boat captains as well. What about the kids that have to grow up around alcoholic fathers and mothers that beat on them and each other. What about that cost to society. Families where the parents smoke pot around their kids find often that the kids rebel against anything that the parents are “For” and most of those kids grow up and never use. There will always be irresponsible people but the light should not JUST be shined on pot users and not the alcohol users. The social differences of these two drugs are vast and it is disingenuous of anyone to say that they are close on any level.
      So do us all a favor and try to learn about this stuff instead before stumbling in blind and making ludicrous statements with no facts to back them up. I think that you are lurking here to sow dissension here but most of the people on this site can not be bullshited and be a victim of your nonsense.

  • Kjell-Gunnar Rovland.

    A desperate Oregon Sheriff,it is,trying to buy friends.poor old brute.

  • Dabner420

    Please, everyone help with reporting OSSA to the IRS.
    They have clearly violated their 501(c)(3) status.
    Their website even contains a section titled “Legislative Committee”, and contains a listing for a Lobbyist.
    This, combined with their public opposition of a voter initiative, are clear violations of their tax exempt status.
    The $10,000 donation to this “Summit” amounts to tax payer dollars since they are utilised tax free by the OSSA.

    • Cyndysub

      Exactly what are the steps to do that?

      • Dabner420

        Steps are detailed on page 2 of the form, there is an email address to send it to.
        Thanks for helping.

    • Cyndysub

      OH I found it it is IRS form # 13909

  • Cyndysub

    Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt needs the axe taken to his employment status. Maybe he could live on begging and food stamps.

  • Malinois

    brb gonna go stop a moving train lmbo

  • http://churchofsmoke.org/ Jose

    Perverted sheriffs are upset that they won’t be able to pornographically finger vaginas and rectums searching for marijuana. They also know that without civil asset seizure, they will have a difficult time replacing their worn out jungle gyms.