As Washington and Colorado celebrate a victory in the war against the War on Drugs, the marijuana legalization effort in Oregon fell short of their goal, with a little more than half of the voters speaking out against Measure 80. The defeat is crushing to those who recognize marijuana as a harmless (and even helpful) plant, and the governments war against it a futile battle that achieves nothing but wasted money and the criminalization of everyday people.
According to OregonLive.com, as of 12:15 am on November 7, 55 percent of voters had said no to Measure 80. Forty-five percent had voted yes. At last count, this means that nearly 700,000 people showed up in opposition, while a little more than 100,000 less marked their ballot in support.
About half a million dollars was spent to get the measure on the ballot. But, Oregon didn’t have the big-dollar supporters like Washington and Colorado, leaving little money for the campaign.
Paul Stanford, owner of a chain of medical marijuana clinics, put up the majority of the money to get Measure 80 on the ballot. But without a media blitz, the effort had trouble gaining ground.
Why did it pass in Colorado and Washington, but not here? According to reports before voting day, the legislation simply wasn’t “attractive” to high dollar supporters. A campaign needs money to be successful in this day and age, and without funding, it was doomed.
Measure 80 was the least restrictive when compared with proposed legislation in other states. It would have allowed personal possession of marijuana with no amount limits, whereas in both Colorado and Washington, the amount is capped at one ounce. Also, the legislation would have created a new state agency to regulate the law, and voters aren’t typically keen on anything that will cost them more money.
But, the fight isn’t over. This was just the beginning, and a 45 to 55 percent battle is a fairly close one—indicating that with a better funded campaign, a similar measure could have better success in the future.
Those leading the effort will likely analyze what went wrong, dust themselves off, and get back on their feet. Newly drafted, and more attractive, legislation will need to be written in order to pick up the support from people who can put money behind the effort. Whether we see a similar ballot item next year, or if it takes a few years, it will be back and we will be covering the fight here.
Until then, marijuana remains illegal in our state. The government maintains their legal authority to tell us what we can or cannot put in our bodies. So, when you are charged with marijuana possession, contact our offices to discuss your legal options.