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Tell Your Oregon Reps To Support Will Of The Voters On Measure 91

oregon measure 91 legalization new approachAfter reading this story in the Statesman-Journal, I think it is vitally important for supporters of Oregon’s Measure 91 to contact their state representative and senator and urge them to respect the will of the voters on Measure 91.  You can find your legislators here and then send them an email or letter.  There are four basic areas the League of Oregon Cities and other lobbyists are fighting us over:

  • Right of cities to establish local marijuana taxes;
  • Right of cities to establish bans on marijuana licenses without a vote of the people;
  • Establishment of a blood-draw ng/ml THC DUID limit (like Washington);
  • Abolishing or severely curtailing the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

One Democratic Senator is already claiming the people just wanted legalization and they don’t care too much about Measure 91’s “fine print”.  A Republican Senator is already asking about abolishing the medical marijuana program.  Don’t let legalization get twisted by lobbyists, law enforcement, and the legislature – speak up NOW!

Senator Dembrow & Representative Smith Warner,

My name is Russ Belville and I am a constituent of yours who worked very hard to see that Measure 91, our initiative to legalize marijuana, passed statewide.

Now I am very troubled by reports that the legislature is being lobbied by the League of Oregon Cities and others to subvert the will of the voters by making changes to Measure 91 that are completely inconsistent with Measure 91.

In particular, Senator Lee Beyer is quoted in the Statesman-Journal saying that November’s vote in favor of marijuana meant Oregonians support recreational usage and not that they support the specific details of Measure 91. His assumption is that most voters “didn’t pay a heck of a lot of attention” to or read all the fine print in the proposal.

I assure you, the fine print in the proposal is exactly what Oregonians supported, for it is within that fine print that Oregon learned the lessons from the process of legalization taking place in Washington and Colorado.

At least 70 Oregon cities passed local taxes on marijuana prior to Measure 91’s passage. As you know, Measure 91 vests sole taxation authority over marijuana to the state and repeals and supersedes all previously passed local taxes. This is how we tax alcohol in Oregon, yet cities believe they should be able to tack on an extra tax for alleged “costs of regulation” that are already covered by Measure 91 and are never quantified by the cities.

The low $35/ounce state taxation is a lesson learned from the high taxation at multiple levels of production, processing, and retail and among multiple city, county, and state jurisdictions. In Washington and Colorado, the price of black market and medical marijuana is far lower than the overtaxed recreational price, leading to pot dealers in the parking lots of legal pot shops, undercutting the legal sellers. That’s exactly what we don’t want at our Oregon pot shops.

The right of localities to ban pot shops and other licensees is also enshrined in Measure 91, but only through a vote of the people. This was the lesson learned from the other two legalization states where city councils and county commissions banned pot shops of their own accord, ignoring the will of the voters in those locales that overwhelmingly supported legalization. Such bans also undercut the point of legalization by leaving the illegal pot dealers and the medical marijuana dispensaries as the only source for marijuana that all Oregon adults may legally possess and use.

The lack of a per se THC DUID limit, such as Washington and Colorado, is also a major reason I and others supported Measure 91. It’s not that we don’t want police stopping impaired drivers, regardless of reason for that impairment. It’s that there is no reliable testing for marijuana impairment through saliva, urine, or blood screening that is scientifically valid. Any limit the legislature would add would certainly convict innocent drivers of impairment for merely having high tolerances to marijuana.

Most importantly, Measure 91 explicitly mentioned three times that it changed the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in no way. Tens of thousands of patients and their caregivers would not have supported Measure 91 if it did change OMMA. Yet Sen. Fred. Girod is already asking “Can we do away with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program if we are going to legalize marijuana?”

There can be positive changes to streamline the production, processing, and retailing of marijuana to avoid two redundant supply chains. However, the right of patients to possess and cultivate more usable marijuana must be protected; there are some who absolutely cannot make do on the recreational limits of Measure 91. Furthermore, patients rights to home manufacture of edibles and concentrates should be preserved, as they often need those higher-potency items for proper medicinal effect.

I would warn you both not to assume the voters will be satisfied with any changes you make to Measure 91 because we’re simply happy with legalization. Please pledge to me your support of the will and intent of 71% of Multnomah County voters who understood that Measure 91 was crafted to avoid the pitfalls of Colorado and Washington. Please do not support any local marijuana taxes, allowing city councils / county commissions to ban without a vote of the people, creating any unscientific per se DUID standard, or major changes to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

Thank you.

  • Jetdoc

    This is UNCONSCIONABLE!

  • Liam

    This should be illegal. The will of the people supersedes any legislation contrary to what they voted upon, no matter what these crybabies demand.

    • Hit them with this:

      Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

      Maybe it will put the fear of God in them.

      • Captain Obvious

        They wont believe it until the FDA officially vets it or when they get cancer the hard way. Plus, it is too much intellectual work to read those studies if they have a hard time understanding why a cancer patient may need this. Looks like more statistically irrational regulations to come from the Nixon group think factory of death.

    • David

      They are little demi-God’s living in their own personal little fiefdoms. I will never understand the allure of small town life. To each their own but I’d become bored to death

  • Nathaniel

    There is a good chance all this is just detractors trying a last ditch attempt to

    make the OLCC’s job more difficult. The commission will soon be allowed to really review where to start/proceed and what ground rules they would like to set for every facet of the production, distribution, and retailing.
    Now that it is legal everyone is fighting for their share of the potentially large pie; I would be fine with it if every city tax structure was forced to follow the tax stream the state has opted to use. There are many cities that could use the local school revenue. Left to their own devices, there would be a wealth of cities trying to use the money for something less important. Education is in desperate need of the funding and anyone that would argue differently isn’t paying attention.

    Keep in touch with your local reps and make sure they are serving our best interests. I mean we did vote for the thing =D

    • Captain Obvious

      Education is always a great investment. However, they should be looking at allocating sufficient herbal research grants too so history doesn’t repeat itself. It would be nice if each state had a program to decentralize the research so we dont repeat the same group think disasters that the FDA suffers from. The current system was intentionally engineered to firewall/ retard herbal research for obvious reasons.

    • joe tokes

      These local governments are not looking for a piece of the pie, they want to tax away the legal market to protect thier black market!

  • ohanamama420

    This is EXACTLY one of the biggest problems in Eastern Oregon, I STILL DO NOT understand why nobody had exposed the issues of the ENTIRE HALF of THIS state! Eastern Oregon spoke also, in favor of 91, mostly to protect the Medical Marijuana Program, it’s the ONLY way WE will actually have dispensaries! Y’all are moving forward and arguing over taxes and we just want recreational, NO! YOU’RE WRONG, DO YOU NOT REALIZE WE STILL DON’T HAVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES AVAILABLE IN THIS HALF OF THE STATE! NO TESTING FACILITIES, NO REGULATING EXCEPT HIGH DESERT TASK FORCE UNLAWFULLY RAIDING LEGAL GROWS, WHY AREN’T PEOPLE ASKING WHY THIS IS STILL BEING ALLOWED? WHAT ABOUT THE PATIENTS AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WANT PEACEFUL REGULATION AND MEDICAL DISPENSARIES? WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN TOLD MALHUER COUNTY WILL REMAIN A DRY COUNTY, THAT IS NOT WHAT THE PEOPLE VOTED FOR OR WANT!