Law 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.