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Oregon voters recently received an anti-marijuana postcard in the mail which is covered with a lot of ostensible reasons to vote against a pending ballot measure. The No on 91 campaign seeks to inform Oregon voters to the ills of marijuana using undocumented claims and fear tactics. The shadowy organization is rumored to be receiving funds from several Sherrif’s Associations, but they have refused to respond to numerous queries as to where their funding comes from, the people involved in their campaign, or any substantial information that might reveal political or corporate interest.
Measure 91 is a ballot measure supported by New Approach Oregon, a non-profit organization seeking legal marijuana. Their website clearly indicates individuals to approach with questions and new stories have detailed their spending. New Approach was instrumental in the successful initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in Colorado. From January to May, 2014, Colorado had raised over $14 million in tax revenue from recreational cannabis and more than $4 million from medical dispensaries. Their Oregon initiative seeks to reap the same tax revenue from marijuana.
The claims in the No on 91 postcard include the statement that ″big marijuana business targets children.″ This claim is not supported by any appeal to logic or reason. In fact, the measure prohibits the sale of cannabis products to children and even goes so far as to require a buzz-door system for those seeking admittance to a cannabis dispensary. There is no evidence of a ″big marijuana business″ though it is clear from the enormous tax revenue that there is a lot of money in recreational cannabis. Whether a “big marijuana business” will sprout in Oregon is yet to be seen.
When pressed for facts in a Facebook discussion, No on 91 posted a link to learnaboutsam.org, where there is a slide show featuring quotes from people advocating against marijuana. One of the slides features Kimber Ritcher, a tobacco researcher. Her quote attempts to equate marijuana and tobacco, claiming that legal cannabis will create a ″public health disaster.″ If she has a point, the site needs to demonstrate how cannabis and tobacco are the same. Tobacco is well-known to cause a harm to every single system in the human body, while many scientific studies have shown the beneficial, health-giving properties of cannabis. That the shadowy No on 91 organization feels that this and similar claims are valid does not give confidence for this anti-marijuana movement in Oregon.
Their postcard attempts to claim that there will still be a black market in Oregon which supplies cheaper marijuana. Despite a lack of supporting sources, this seems to be reasonable because there has been a black market for alcohol for over 100 years. In each case, black market criminals are investigated and prosecuted by state officials. The difference is that most users will likely visit a non-criminal establishment where they know that the products are regulated and reliable. Black market goods are available in almost any field, from high fashion to DVD movies.
In attempting to engage in a dialogue with No on 91, their unnamed representatives have blocked attempts to engage in an interview. The questions left on their Facebook comment thread were deleted and all comments and questions left by the reporter were likewise deleted. As of press time, the secretive organization has not responded to emailed requests for information.
By Hobie Anthony