Most national organizations gave Oregon orders to not pursue marijuana reform in 2014, because after all, it’s a non-Presidential Election year. Hardworking, longtime activists inside of Oregon, who know Oregon politics, tried as hard as we could to present information to change those organization’s minds. Unfortunately, all the articles, emails, calls, and meetings fell on ears that didn’t want to listen. As I stated before, I can go along with that thought process if no states were pursuing marijuana reform in 2014. I’m OK with an all or nothing approach as a show of unity.
However, many states are pursuing marijuana reform in 2014, and rightfully so, because the time is right. I don’t want to hear about election results prior to 2012 because post 2012 the political landscape has changed. Two states have legal marijuana now, and Oregon would have easily been the third state had we had any significant help from national organizations. It makes me sad that the same organizations that stood by and didn’t help us in 2012 are also the same organizations that are so confident that they know what is best for Oregon going forward.
I have some good news and bad news for these national organizations and donors. The good news is Oregon is going to fight along side other states in 2014, and we have a better chance than any other state of succeeding. More on that later. The bad news is marijuana opponents in Oregon didn’t seem to get the memo that no one was supposed to do anything until 2016…Or maybe they did get the memo, which is why they are attacking the nation’s second oldest medical marijuana program and trying to pass other anti-marijuana legislation. Below are bills that were introduced into the Oregon legislature this week:
Imposes restrictions on issuance of marijuana grow site registration cards under Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Modifies production limits at marijuana grow sites.
Makes medical use of marijuana in immediate proximity of person under 18 years of age subject to criminal laws of this state, and specifies that such use of medical marijuana is not affirmative defense to criminal charges of which possession, delivery or production of marijuana is element, unless Oregon Health Authority has issued registry identification card to person under 18 years of age.
Requires Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules requiring hospitals and freestanding birthing centers, depending on number of live births performed at hospital or freestanding birth center each year, to screen infants for controlled substances or notify parents or legal guardians of importance of screening infants for controlled substances.
There were also two bills that were introduced that seek to modify sentencing for marijuana crimes (among other things). These other two bills provide prime opportunities for anti-marijuana legislators to add whatever they want to try to derail the momentum that Oregon activists have fought so hard to maintain. At a time when anti-marijuana politicians should be on their heels, they are feeling emboldened to introduce crap like the house bills previously mentioned. Why is that? Is it because they know national organizations and donors are leaving Oregon high and dry until 2016, and that they have a window of opportunity to go for blood? Just something to think about. But then again what do I know, being that I’m a lifelong Oregonian with experience in local politics, clearly I should just stop talking and let the out of state ‘experts’ do their job…
What will Oregon look like in 2016? Will the political landscape be frozen in time like out-of-staters assume? Or will the OMMP be gutted by then, and the mood of voters have changed into one that seeks a referendum on liberal political causes because they have had enough after 8 years of Obama? Outside of marijuana politics, liberal causes are going forward in Oregon in 2014, such as a gay marriage initiative. Those initiatives have heavy hitters behind them. Why is that? Didn’t they hear that there is no chance for them until 2016??? For more on Oregon marijuana politics, contact Dwight Holton.