The sheriff of Klamath County spouted off the typical fear-mongering arguments against legalizing and taxing marijuana with no facts or data to back it up. He said moving marijuana from a market controlled by dealers and cartels into a regulated, inspected, legalized market would cause chaos and death on the roads and make it impossible for meager budgets of agencies like his to cover the cost of enforcement. The story was misleading, inaccurate and unfair. Viewers and voters deserve better.
This sheriff (and the “news reporter,” Jessica De Nova) seems to ignore the fact that 10% of the tens of millions of dollars raised by taxes on legal marijuana in Measure 91 will go specifically to county law enforcement. Another 25% of the money will go to state and city law enforcement. Not to mention the massive savings from not arresting, processing and sending through court of that 100 – 200 people he arrests every year for marijuana related crimes. By the way, the mega-donor to the “No on 91 Campaign” is the Oregon’s Sheriff’s Association.
Next door in Jackson County, the sheriff’s office arrests or cites north of 1,500 citizens a year for marijuana. More than Multnomah County (containing the city of Portland) which has 3.5x the population of Jackson County. Deputies there in Jackson bust 150% of Mult Co’s totals. They make a living running down small-time marijuana users instead of protecting citizens from violent crime and cartels in Southern Oregon. Law enforcement there could use the new money and cost savings from a regulated marijuana system to make sure someone is available to respond when a person calls 911.
Measure 91 allows police to refocus resources to protecting the roads from drivers impaired by anything: prescription painkillers, alcohol or just plain fatigue. Freeing officers up from chasing marijuana users is like hiring more cops from day one to keep us safer. Oregon State Police say they will hire more troopers with the tax revenue generated by Measure 91. They will train any officer in Oregon, paid for with money from M91, in advanced roadside sobriety testing. More attention to the roads is our first, best defense against dangerous drivers. Measure 91 provides that.
All we have to do is look at Washington and Colorado. Since legal marijuana sales began there fatalities on the roads are down. DUI arrests in Washington are down (pg. 8). Those are state police statistics. Not the opinions of one sheriff who thinks bad things might happen.
This one-sided hit piece of a news story was a disservice to voters. It choked the public airwaves with the opinions of the people who are funding the opponents of Measure 91 but failed to to tell the other side of the story — the side that reflects what a majority of Oregonians feel. The reporter failed in her duties to be a watchdog for democracy and instead became a mouthpiece for a failed war on marijuana that has ruined tens-of-thousands of lives, cost taxpayers hundreds-of-millions of dollars and allowed drug dealers and violent cartels to take over Southern Oregon. I hope she will make an effort to at least fix the record and tell the other side of the story. Readers, let these TV reporters know that you demand fair coverage and unbiased reporting.