The Oregon chapters of the national organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy formally endorsed IP-24 this weekend at a statewide conference held at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland.
Representatives from all six state chapters were in attendance to hear presentations from three different ballot initiative campaigns, each hoping to make the November 2012 ballot. SSDP wanted to endorse one of the three early, so that they could throw their organizational weight behind helping a campaign during the all-important signature gathering phase.
Students from University of Oregon, Portland State University, Reed College, Western Oregon, Lewis and Clark and the L&C Law School heard presentations from Paul Stanford of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act campaign, Madeline Martinez with NORML, and me, Adam Smith, from Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement’s campaign, End Prohibition Again.
A question and answer period followed the presentations before students sequestered themselves to discuss and come to a decision. When the smoke cleared, IP-24 was the students’ choice by a wide margin.
We are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with Oregon SSDP. The drug war, and particularly marijuana prohibition, disproportionately targets young people for enforcement, both here and nationally. This campaign is going to focus extensively on young voters, not only registering to vote and turning them out, but also elevating their voices. Young voters know first-hand the absurdity and irrationality of our current marijuana policies. Approximately half of the 8,000 annual arrests for low-level possession in the state are of people under the age of 25. This, despite more than half a million regular marijuana users, of all ages, statewide. We want to highlight the voices of young voters, both speaking to each other, and to their elders, about the need for reform.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy will be a key ally and strategic partner as we set out to make that case to voters across the state.
CSLE would like to thank SSDP for organizing the event, and Lewis and Clark Law School for hosting. We look forward to working with SSDP to End Prohibition Again in Oregon.