There's a good chance Washington state will legalize the sale and use of marijuana this November. A few weeks ago a poll showed Initiative I-502 with 57% "yes" and 34% "no" among likely voters.
Measure 80 here in Oregon looks less likely to pass.
It takes a more liberal approach to marijuana legalization, which seems to be one reason large donors haven't chipped in money to support the measure as they have in Washington and Colorado.
This November, voters in Oregon and Washington will decide whether to legalize marijuana. The Washington effort is backed by some deep-pocketed national donors. But Oregon's campaign is struggling to raise even a bare minimum of cash.
Washington’s Initiative 502 would allow adults to buy marijuana at state-licensed stores. Oregon's Measure 80 would do that too, and would allow people to grow their own pot. The Washington backers have rung up more than $3 million in donations, allowing them to hit the TV airwaves.
But campaign organizers in Oregon have reported just $13,000 in donations since their more permissive measure made the ballot in July.
I hope Measure 80 becomes law.
The only poll released so far had 37% of Oregon voters in favor, 41% opposed, and 22% undecided. So basically it's a toss-up, even with extremely minimal advertising. Hey, Bill Maher, how about throwing a few hundred thousand bucks Measure 80's way?
I've been wondering, though, what will happen if Washington legalizes marijuana and Oregon doesn't. There's a heck of lot of Oregonians who live within a few hours drive time of the Washington border. And I've heard rumors that quite a few of them use marijuana.
Yes, marijuana reportedly is common in Portland and Eugene. Shocking! How is it possible that the U of O football team currently is ranked #2 in the country with marijuana use so rampant in Eugene?
(That's an ironic question... pot essentially has zero effect on coordination, based on the countless experiments on this subject I conducted during my own college years by tossing a frisbee, playing pool, driving a motorcycle, and performing other physical feats while high.)
So far as I can tell -- and my research, of course, has been purely for journalistic blogging purposes -- I-502 legalizes the sale of marijuana to anyone 21 or older who buys it at licensed retail outlets. Not just Washingtonians. Anyone.
There may be licensed, in no greater number in each of the counties of the state than as the state liquor control board shall deem advisable, retail outlets established for the purpose of making useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products available for sale to adults aged twenty-one and over. Retail sale of useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products in accordance with the provisions of this act and the rules adopted to implement and enforce it, by a validly licensed marijuana retailer or retail outlet employee, shall not be a criminal or civil offense under Washington state law.
Sure sounds like marijuana tourism could be coming to Washington.
The DUI aspects of I-502 are a bummer to hemp advocates who want to pot-party in the state, but I doubt this would discourage Oregonians from driving up to Washington to purchase an ounce of weed, then driving home to consume it.
This depends on market forces, though. The legal price of marijuana would have to be close to what it can be bought for now, and the quality as good or better. But given these assumptions, why wouldn't Oregonians help out the Washington state budget with some extra tax receipts?
Money that would be leaving Oregon if this state doesn't pass Measure 80, while Washington passes I-502.
Many Oregonians still would be able to buy marijuana legally, just not here. Much of the revenue that would have gone to Oregon state government, $60 million or more according to Measure 80 proponents, would flow to Washington.
Something to think about, Oregon voters. Vote "yes" on Measure 80. Keep Oregon green -- with money that should stay in the state, rather than head into Washington state coffers.
Oregonians are going to keep using marijuana whether or not Measure 80 passes. The only question is whether this state joins Washington in ending the crazy, expensive, irrational prohibition of an herb that is hugely more beneficial than already-legal alcohol.