The Sheriff of King County, which includes the greater Seattle area, has taken the unprecedented step of endorsing a marijuana regulation measure on the ballot in the state next door.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart supported Washington state's successful 2012 initiative to regulate marijuana, and he said he supports Oregon's Measure 91 because Washington state's regulated approach to marijuana is working.
"Month by month, tax dollars are going to schools and police, not the drug cartels," Urquhart says in anew ad from Oregon's Yes on 91 campaign. "Wasteful arrests are way down. DUIs are down. Drug prevention programs are getting funds. Strict regulations are working."
The ad featuring Urquhart will hit airwaves on Wednesday as part of a $2 million plus TV blitz paid for by the Yes on 91 campaign. It's the third spot that the campaign has rolled out in recent months featuring law enforcement officers.
Previous ads from the Yes on 91 campaign featured former Multnomah County drug unit prosecutorDarian Stanford and 33-year police veteran Pete Tutmark. The Yes on 91 campaign ads have largely focused on messages about how treating marijuana as a crime has failed and how Measure 91 will allow police to focus on other priorities like stopping violent crimes.
Urquhart is the second Sheriff to endorse Measure 91. Earlier this year, a retired sheriff from Oregon's most populous county also endorsed Measure 91. Other top law enforcement officials who support Measure 91 include Oregon's former U.S. Attorney Kris Olson, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, and former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs, one of Oregon's most foremost legal experts.
In 36 years of law enforcement, Urquhart has worked as a patrol officer, field training officer, master police officer, narcotics detective, public information officer and administrative aide. In 2012, he became the sheriff of King County, which has 1.9 million people and includes Seattle.
Under Oregon's vote-by-mail system, Oregonians are voting on Measure 91 right now and have until 8 p.m. on Nov. 4 to turn in their ballots. Measure 91 would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
A recent poll from Oregon Public Broadcasting and DHM research shows the measure has a good chance of passing but that much will depend on voter turnout. Measure 91 also recently won a slew of new endorsements, including the support of The New York Times, The Oregon League of Conservation Voters, The National Association of Social Workers Oregon Chapter and The Skanner.