We recommend that you find the time to read the full text of Oregon Measure 80, the wildly overreaching ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in the state.
Brew an extra cup of coffee: Measure 80 reads a bit like one of those old James Michener novels, the ones that went back eons to set the stage for the dramatic events that would follow.
The text of Measure 80 begins with a lengthy recounting of the many benefits of cannabis hemp, with detours back to the days of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, all of which makes for interesting reading but is beyond the point.
The measure itself reads like a screed penned by marijuana fans, which is precisely what it is. But screeds rarely make for the best public policy. And any sort of rational reading of the measure should give thoughtful voters plenty of reasons to vote “no.”
Measure 80 would create a seven-member state cannabis commission to essentially make sure that marijuana becomes Oregon’s largest cash crop — and that Oregon, with the full backing and support of state government, would become worldwide cheerleaders for the glories of hemp and marijuana.
Five of the seven members of the commission would be drawn from the state’s cannabis community — “elected at large by growers and processors,” in the words of the measure. Again, unless you’re a member of the cannabis community, you might be able to see some potential problems here.
The measure also includes no limits on personal possession and cultivation.
In short, it’s a mess — even for a measure that tries to define itself as a “scientific experiment by the people of Oregon.”
There’s little doubt that state and federal drug policy also is a mess. Oregon’s medical marijuana program has grown beyond all expectations, leaving plenty of unanswered questions, and federal policy has been ineffective, if not counterproductive. But you don’t start cleaning up a mess by making it worse, and that’s exactly what Measure 80 would do.