Oregon's former U.S. Attorney, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, has endorsed Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Kris Olson has worked in justice and law enforcement for more than 40 years. "I enforced our marijuana laws, and they don't work," she said. "Filling our courts and jails has failed to reduce marijuana use, and drug cartels are pocketing all the profits."
Olson joins several other high-profile supporters of Measure 91, including former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs and former Addictions and Mental Health Services of Oregon director Richard Harris. Hundreds of other Oregonians and some of the state's most prominent organizations have also endorsed the measure.
Oregon has one of the highest marijuana arrest rates in the country, with seven percent -- or about one in 14 -- of all arrests for simple marijuana possession. People of color are more than twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana in Oregon despite no disparity in use.
"With the limited resources law enforcement has, police need to be focused on things that are a real threat to our community, not marijuana," Olson said. "We want them to be spending their time on real problems: dangerous, addictive drugs like meth and heroin, and, most of all, violent crime."
Olson served as a federal prosecutor from 1974-1984; Associate Dean and Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark from 1984-1994; Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Commissioner from 1987 to1994; United States Attorney for the District of Oregon from 1994 to 2001; and Senior Counsel to Congressman Earl Blumenauer from 2001 to 2003.