What the hell are Governor Kitzhaber and some Oregon legislators up too -- trying to undermine Measure 91, which legalized recreational marijuana in November 2014, even before it has gone into effect?
It's deeply insulting to the 56% of Oregonians who voted "Yes" on Measure 91.
Look, I understand that a minority of people in this state don't want legal pot. But a freaking clear majority do!
There was an intense debate about the merits of Measure 91 for months prior to the election. Publicity certainly wasn't lacking about what it would do.
Tax marijuana at $35 an ounce. Allow for its regulated sale. Prohibit cities and counties from imposing their own taxes. Preserve the medical marijuana program unchanged. Permit localities to ban the sale of pot, but also after a vote of the people. Let Oregonians possess eight ounces of marijuana and four plants at home.
I followed Measure 91 closely, being very much in favor of it. Nationally, observers of the United States' archaic approach to marijuana policy called Measure 91 the new "gold standard" in this area.
So come on... let's give Measure 91 a try before declaring it a failure.
The drafters of this ballot initiative studied the experience of Colorado and Washington, which legalized marijuana two years earlier, in 2012. They did a great job, coming up with a way to legalize marijuana that blended the best in those states, while avoiding the worse (such as excessively high taxation in Washington state).
It bugged me, big-time, to read a front-page story in The Oregonian today, "Kitzhaber considers tighter pot limits."
Gov. John Kitzhaber expressed concern Tuesday about how much marijuana Oregonians would be allowed to possess at home under the new legalization measure -- and he indicated that he might ask legislators to seek lower limits.
...Kitzhaber opposed the legalization measure, saying he thought Oregon should wait to see how Washington and Colorado fare with legalizing the drug.
In addition to looking at the home possession limit, Kitzhaber also questioned whether the Oregon Health Authority should continue regulating medical marijuana separately from the new market in recreational pot.
Here's the thing, Guv.
You opposed Measure 91, but you were almost entirely silent during the lengthy debate about marijuana legalization in Oregon. If you were so concerned about certain provisions in Measure 91, you should have argued against them prior to the November vote.
You didn't. Measure 91 passed. Easily. It is the law in Oregon now.
Those of us who voted for Measure 91 knew that the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) would need to come up with rules and regulations to implement the new law. But we didn't expect that Oregon's Governor and some state legislators would try to rewrite the law before it was implemented.
Leave it alone. Implement Measure 91 as the voters passed it.
If some changes need to be made a few years after it has been implemented in 2016 (when marijuana sales are to start), the 2018 Oregon legislature can consider this.
Here's some reader comments on The Oregonian story (which total 425 so far) that I heartily agreed with:
More people voted for 4 plants and 8 ounces than who voted for the Gov. This should put things in perspective.
There's no limit on the amount of booze I can have in my house. We should treat pot more like alcohol.
Is the government going to start dictating how much beer or alcohol we can have in our homes as well? What about tobacco. Now that marijuana is legal, it is time to stop demonizing this product. Yes, some will abuse it, like everything else in life. But it is legal, it has benefits for some, and it is an intoxicant, like alcohol and cigarettes. Stop the nonsense Salem!!
Kitz, please quit trying to enforce anything. Just let us grow our own weed and leave us alone. Yes, we know that 4 plants will produce more than 8 ounces. Haha, we voted and we won.
As for the merging of the programs, while it does make sense to have one body regulate all marijuana, it also still makes sense to have two programs. Marijuana has been deemed to have medicinal properties for some ailments. Since you don't tax our Vicodin you shouldn't take our medical marijuana.
Kitz, you're a doctor. If you had to, knowing full well that alcohol kills people and destroys lives, which would you choose, monitoring every action of every marijuana user or every action of chronic alcoholics. And anyone who is a radical anti-pot extremist who gives alcohol a pass is a hypocrite beyond description!
I would like to see marijuana treated more like wine or beer. I support regulation, but I don't want to see regulations imposed on marijuana users that we don't see with other products that adults use that are demonstrably more dangerous.
Prohibitionists never understand how their decisions fuel the black market that they fear so much. The voters voted. Tweaks to M91 should remain minimal for a few years. This is a dumb move.