On election night I sent out tweets predicting that after Oregon legalized marijuana, that we would see parts of Oregon suspend marijuana enforcement. I’m happy to say that my prediction has come true, as Multnomah County and Clackamas County have both said that they will treat future marijuana cases as if Measure 91 was in effect. Multnomah County didn’t surprise me nearly as much as Clackamas County, which has traditionally been an unfriendly marijuana county.
The same week that Oregon legalized marijuana, I posted an article urging all counties to suspend marijuana enforcement, because after all, it’s a waste of time arresting and citing people for something that is going to be legal soon. It’s a waste of time even if it’s not going to be legal soon, but especially wasteful given the resounding victory on Election Day in Oregon. The Oregon Measure 91 campaign today released an open letter calling for Oregon District Attorneys to implement Oregon Measure 91 as soon as possible. That letter is below:
Although Oregon voters passed Measure 91 with a 12-point margin, implementation of this better, smarter approach to marijuana policy will not be complete until the first half of 2016. We don’t have to wait until then to start to mitigate the damage done by decades of criminalization, wasted law enforcement time and squandered taxpayer money.
Prosecutors in Oregon’s largest county have already decided to dismiss, and stop prosecuting, marijuana-related offenses that would no longer exist under Measure 91. Other county prosecutors should follow Multnomah County’s lead.
A strong majority of Oregon voters have directed the state to stop treating marijuana as a crime and to better prioritize our limited law enforcement resources. With so many lives and so much money at stake, waiting would be unreasonable and clearly damaging to Oregon’s communities. We should work quickly to limit the damage already caused by a feckless war against marijuana.
We urge you to cease enforcement of marijuana laws that will no longer exist when provisions of Measure 91 take effect in July.
Anthony Johnson, Director, New Approach Oregon, Chief Petitioner of Measure 91
David Fidanque, Executive Director, ACLU of Oregon
Becky Straus, Legislative Director, ACLU of Oregon
Kris Olson, former US Attorney for the District of Oregon
Darian Stanford, former Drug Unit Prosecutor
Paul Steigleder, former Lieutenant Sheriff
Pete Tutmark, former Deputy Sheriff
Inge Fryklund, former Assistant State’s Attorney
Ari Wubbold, Vice-Chair of the City Club of Portland Research Committee on Measure 91