The City Club of Portland has issued endorsements for Oregon ballot measures. One of the measures they are endorsing is Measure 91 which would legalize marijuana in Oregon for people 21 and older. The City Club of Portland is very influential, and this is a huge endorsement. Combined with the endorsements that the initiative has already received, including from the Oregonian, momentum continues to build for a victory on Election Day 2014. Below is the press release issued by the City Club of Portland:
The City Club of Portland today released a draft research report that recommends Oregon voters approve a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. The measure will appear on the November 4 ballot.
If approved by City Club members, the recommendation will become one of the earliest and highest-profile endorsements about the measure, which Oregonians will vote on in November.
During a four-month process, a committee of eight City Club member-volunteers interviewed witnesses on both sides of the issue and reviewed relevant documents. The full draft report, which includes a witness list and bibliography, is available online at http://www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-pot.
"Current marijuana laws unnecessarily limit adult Oregonians' freedom to consume a product that is less addictive than legal products such as alcohol and tobacco," the report states. "The social costs of the current system are too high; crime can be reduced through regulated legalization; youth consumption can be discouraged through education and advertising; economic opportunity will increase through added revenue and job growth."
The majority of the committee concluded that the measure is well-written. It would take advantage of existing state agency infrastructure and provide a detailed system for licensing, taxation and regulation. Legalization would generate revenue for public safety, public health and education.
The majority of the committee was not convinced by opponents' claims that crime and consumption, particularly among minors, would increase if voters approve this measure.
"Legalization of recreational marijuana will pose many challenges at first, but over time Oregon will find that it is better off than under the current prohibition," Committee Vice-Chair Ari Wubbold said. "Legalization will help address crime in a number of ways: revenue will help fund law enforcement and drug education initiatives, a black market industry will be placed under strict regulations, and police resources will be freed up to focus on more-dangerous criminals."
The marijuana legalization measure appears on the ballot after supporters submitted 88,584 valid signatures.
Seven member-volunteers on the committee endorsed the majority recommendation. One member-volunteer signed a minority report recommending that voters reject the proposal as something better handled by the Oregon Legislature. The minority report also raised concerns about perceived regulatory shortcomings in the proposal.
Member-volunteers who served on the committee and supported the majority recommendation were Ari Wubbold (vice-chair), Beth van Elswyk, Glenn Fee, Matthew Keenen, Mario Parker-Mulligan, Jonathan Poisner and Rick York. The member-volunteer in the minority was Elisa Dozono (chair). Clifford Droke served as the committee's research adviser.
City Club members will debate and vote on this and nine other election-related recommendations at a "Ballot-Palooza" from 5:30pm to 9:00pm on Wednesday, August 20 at the Village Ballroom at the Oregon Public House (700 NE Dekum St.). The event will be open to the public, but only City Club members may vote on the recommendations. For more information on the event visit: http://bit.ly/BallotPalooza2014. Outcomes of the votes will be published on the City Club of Portland's website and reported in the City Club Bulletin, released August 26.
This year, City Club's ballot measure research and recommendation will reach more Oregonians than ever before. Committees started their work earlier than in past election years in order to finish in time for the Club to place its adopted recommendations in the State Voters Pamphlet that will go out to all registered voters prior to the election.
City Club member-volunteers have researched more than 400 state and local ballot measures since 1916. City Club's Research Board screened all researcher applicants for conflicts of interest, and participants affirmed that they are unbiased on the ballot measure they sought to study.
Four months ago, City Club of Portland chose to study nine statewide proposed ballot measures. Today we are also releasing a report on IP 47 & 58: Liquor Privatization, which did not make it to the ballot. Although the chief petitioners withdrew the petitions, they indicated they would continue to pursue privatization either in the legislature or through another initiative. City Club therefore released this report to inform discussion about future privatization efforts. To read the press release and report visit: www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-liquor.
City Club of Portland brings together civic-minded people to make Portland and Oregon better places to live, work and play for everyone. For more information about City Club of Portland, visit www.pdxcityclub.org or call 503-228-7231. Follow us on twitter @pdxcityclub and on facebook.