Last night I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of the hardest working marijuana activists on the planet at an Election Day celebration in Portland, Oregon. The event was hosted by Oregonians for Law Reform, and was packed with Oregon SSDP’rs, among people from other organizations. It was a bittersweet night in that I saw two states end marijuana prohibition, but my home state of Oregon fell short (45 to 55). But alas, this is no time for Oregon activists to hang their heads, and more importantly, it’s no time for national activists and organizations to disregard Oregon.
Oregon has always been at the forefront of the marijuana reform movement. We will continue to be at the forefront. The fact that Measure 80 garnered 45% of the vote and won the largest counties in Oregon should be seen as very significant, considering that the campaign received little to no help from national organizations and large donors. What would it have taken to push Measure 80 over the top? I guess we’ll never know.
I would like to take this time to urge Oregon marijuana activists, and activists outside of Oregon that want to help, to focus their energy on 2014 instead of looking back too much on 2012. Oregon will no doubt benefit in the 2014 election from the 2012 victories in Colorado and Washington. We will be able to look towards the skies over Washington State and Colorado and point out that they are still in place. A lot of the scare tactics that prohibitionists have been using for decades will be easily dis-proven because of the two ‘case studies’ we now have developing in Colorado and Washington. We will build off of what we accomplished in 2012, and I predict a big victory in 2014. 2014 might not be a Presidential election year, but it will be a Gubernatorial election year in Oregon.
I don’t look at Measure 80 as a defeat, so much as I look at it like a campaign that wasn’t given a fair shake. If Oregon gets even half of the donations in 2014 that either Washington or Colorado did in 2012, gaining 6 percentage points across Oregon doesn’t seem too difficult. There are multiple plans already under way for marijuana legalization initiatives in Oregon. I hope they can all unite instead of pursuing their own initiatives, which was no doubt a factor in 2012’s efforts (there were at least 4 at one point that I know of). Start early, work together often, and Oregon will become the third state to end marijuana prohibition. Oregon’s 2014 marijuana legalization efforts start TODAY. I invite national organizations, donors, and activists all across the country to join us!