According to multiple media sources, people close to the campaign, and veteran activists in Oregon, Oregon Measure 91 has passed, making Oregon the third state to legalize marijuana. As a lifelong Oregonian, this is a day I have dreaming of for a long, long time. No longer will I have to live in fear of prosecution for consuming a plant that is safer than tobacco and alcohol. No longer will I have to see my friends get arrested for marijuana, especially my minority friends. After multiple attempts, and after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, Oregon has legalized marijuana.
Wait until 2016 they said. 2014 won't work they said. Voters rejected marijuana legalization in 2012, so 2014 won't work either they said. Well 'they' can continue to think whatever they want. I will never forget right after Colorado legalized marijuana I was in Denver with a lot of members of the industry and some very high profile organization leaders. I witnessed the two initiators of Measure 91 tell one of those prominent organization leaders their intentions on running a legalization initiative in Oregon in 2014. That organization leader told them that if they waited until 2016, he would offer up his organization's support. But if they went for 2014 defying his orders...he they ran his thumb across his throat as if to indicate that he would kill it. I wonder how that person fells right now...
The fact of the matter is 'they' were all wrong. People who said Oregon couldn't do it in a midterm election don't understand Oregon. It's something I've pointed out over and over. For starters, Oregon has a very high voter turnout, even in midterm elections, compared to other states. That's largely due to the fact that we allow vote by mail here. Also, Oregon elects its Governor in midterm elections, and considering how much both parties need to win the Governor race in Oregon, I knew that they would be doing everything they can to get people to vote, which helped Oregon Measure 91 no doubt. Are Presidential elections better? Of course. But are they so much better in Oregon that we needed to hold off and see tens of thousands more people arrested for marijuana? Nope. Below is a reaction from Tom Angell, the head of Marijuana Majority:
"With Oregon and D.C. coming on board, it's clear that Colorado and Washington voting to legalize in 2012 was no anomaly. The trend is clear: Marijuana prohibition is coming to an end. As 2016 approaches, we can expect to see many more ambitious national politicians finally trying to win support from the cannabis constituency instead of ignoring and criminalizing us."
Let Oregon be a lesson to other states. If you have a chance to win on Election Day, go for it, no matter what election year it is. Marijuana prohibition is wrong, and any year that it can be defeated is a year worth trying for. Oregonians will still have to wait awhile until they can legally possess 8 ounces of flower, and grow up to 4 plants per household. However, if Oregon is like Washington and Colorado, enforcement could be suspended any day, as there's no point in busting someone for something that will be legal soon. Implementation of the legal limits should be July 1, 2015. Stores will take a bit longer, but the delay shouldn't be as long as it was in Washington. From my friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:
Oregon's Measure 91, to legalize, regulate and control marijuana, though predicted to be a tight race, won by a handy margin in a race called by the Oregonian early in the night. The new regulatory system will be overseen by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, in consultation with the State Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Health Authority and will allow adults over 21 to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and grow up to four plants. DUI and public consumption will still be illegal and localities may ban marijuana businesses through ballot measures. Revenue from the measure will first go to oversight of the industry and then to schools, mental health and drug treatment services, and local and state law enforcement.
Results for Measure 2 in Alaska, the other initiative to legalize, regulate and control marijuana have yet to come in.
"Having spent years as a prosecutor, I know that Oregon will benefit greatly from regulating marijuana, and that the example set here will influence future states in 2015 and beyond," said Former Assistant State's Attorney and Oregon resident Inge Fryklund.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit of cops, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials who want to end the war on drugs.
I've never been prouder to be an Oregonian than I am right now. This is a truly historic day for Oregon, and I hope that adding my home state to the list of legal states will help build momentum for every other state that is sure to follow. A special thank you to Anthony and Travis for making this happen. I remember meeting you guys a couple of years ago and you expressing to me your desires to end marijuana prohibition in Oregon. That lunch meeting conversation at Bottles has become a reality, and I thank you both from the bottom of my heart. I still reserve the right to talk trash to you guys like you know I like to do, but know that no matter what I say, I bow to your guys' activism skills! I want to thank everyone else from the campaign, the donors, volunteers, everyone that voted yes on 91, everyone else that made the victory possible, and especially my main man Jay Smoker, whose contributions to Measure 91's victory will probably never be properly recognized or praised, but as a witness to the behind the scenes, I can honestly say that he deserves to celebrate this victory as much as anyone. I LOVE BEING AN OREGONIAN!!! VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!