If you're an Oregonian who is unsure about how to vote on Measure 80, which would regulate, tax, and manage marijuana sales/use for adults 21 and over in our state, have a listen to this segment of OPB's "Think Out Loud." (click on the MP3 file link below)
Yesterday Roy Kaufmann (spokesman for Measure 80) and John Trumbo (Umatilla County Sheriff) had an intelligent, respectful, thoughtful discussion about marijuana legalization. Kudos also to the moderator, Dave Miller.
Great job educating the public by all three, plus those who phoned in with cogent comments.
I support Measure 80. Yet I understand why some people don't. Listening to arguments pro and con, though, I think the "pro" side comes out considerably ahead. For example...
Effect on young people. I learned that youths under 21 currently find it much easier to get ahold of marijuana than alcohol. So legalizing marijuana likely would make it tougher for young people to obtain pot. There are stiff penalities for providing alchohol to minors. If they get in an accident, the provider is legally responsible. Marijuana can be treated the same way, if legalized.
Abuse of medical marijuana law. The Oregonian recently ran stories about how medical marijuana is finding its way into general consumption. Well, imagine that red wine was illegal, except for those who could get a doctor's prescription for vino, because they need it for a heart problem. Would it be surprising if some red wine ending up being sold to people without heart problems, to people who just like red wine but can't buy it in a store? Pointing out problems with the current system, where marijuana is illegal for most Oregonians, is a crazy argument for keeping that system.
Still prohibited under federal law. Kaufmann pointed out that drinking alcohol was legalized in Oregon a year before prohibition ended in the United States as a whole. So this shows that states can blaze the trail the nation later follows. There's a strong libertarian/states rights argument for Measure 80: why shouldn't people be free to consume an herb that makes them feel good and is much less harmful than already-legal alcohol? And why shouldn't Oregonians be able to make up their own minds on this subject?