Culture Fail: Stop the Fear-Mongering Around Measure 80

Opponents of Oregon’s Measure 80 need to step back from their “drugs are bad, m-kay?” attitudes and take one giant leap into reality. By legalizing and regulating marijuana in Oregon, which in most cases isn’t even as harmful as alcohol—how many cases of “marijuana poisoning” have you seen in our local hospitals?—we’re opening up a sustainable avenue of taxable income for farmers, business owners, and the State of Oregon itself. Did you forget that we’re in the bottom 50 percent in the United States in terms of income? Have you seen our education budget lately?? Like the wine and beer industries, marijuana and hemp would create thousands of local jobs. Oregon’s Measure 80 proponents estimate that marijuana taxation alone would provide $140 million to the state annually. In Washington, it’s estimated that marijuana legalization could generate more than $2 billion in revenue over the next five years.

I can’t point out more than a few personal acquaintances who regularly smoke pot. I also find it highly unlikely that our farmers are going to start producing recreational weed en masse. So the assertions made by a recent editorial in the Gazette-Times and mirrored by a similar editorial in The Oregonian that Measure 80 would “make sure that marijuana becomes Oregon’s largest cash crop” and that Oregonians “would become worldwide cheerleaders for the glories of hemp and marijuana” are disappointing at best. And why the heck are we equating recreational marijuana with hemp? Hemp is one of the fastest-growing sources of biomass. It’s used in textiles, the seeds are edible, and it requires little-to-no pesticide or herbicide use. Sorry, but smoking a telephone pole full of hemp won’t get you high.

The idea in the Gazette-Times editorial that Measure 80 “includes no limits on personal possession and cultivation” is misleading, and suggests that there will be NO limitations. Do you really think Oregon will simply throw open the floodgates for a giant pot orgy? I don’t think so, either.

And let’s stop talking about “getting the state deeply enmeshed in the drug business,” and claiming “Measure 80 would compel the Oregon attorney general to serve as a drug ambassador” (thanks again, Oregonian editorial). We’re not legalizing cocaine here, people. The insinuations that Oregon politicians will become drug lords are just plain seditious.

No, Measure 80 isn’t perfect—even I don’t think a board dominated by growers and processors should regulate marijuana use alone. But I also don’t think they plan to enact anything but reasonable limitations—imagine the magnitude of the backlash should they prove irresponsible in their efforts. Remember that Measure 80 can be modified as needed. It also prohibits public use, and use by those under 21, and maintains the illegality of driving under the influence. It aims to manage marijuana like liquor in Oregon. Let’s stop the fear-mongering, stop treating marijuana like it’s heroin—it’s probably less harmful for you than cigarettes—and start taking into consideration the benefits marijuana legalization could have for our state. Better yet, let’s take this opportunity to set a responsible example for the rest of the nation. Vote “yes” on Measure 80.

By Genevieve Weber



–        Gazette Times Anti-Measure 80 Editorial

–        The Oregonian Anti-Measure 80 Editorial

–        Oregon Measure 80