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Oregon's Measure 80 Faces an Uphill Battle [FEATURE]

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #754)
Politics & Advocacy

Of the three marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot this year, Oregon's Measure 80, also known as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, is the most radical. For a variety of reasons it also looks to be the least likely to win. In the only recent poll, done last month by SurveyUSA, Measure 80 was trailing by a margin of 37% to 41%, with a large undecided vote of 22%. While pollsters said the results meant the race was "could go either way" and campaign proponents pointed to the high number of undecideds, any initiative polling less than 50% this close to election day is in trouble.

Measure 80 aims to reassure parents. (
That's too bad, because Measure 80 would repeal marijuana prohibition in Oregon outright; allow personal possession and cultivation by adults 21 and over; create an Oregon Cannabis Commission to tax, regulate, and license commercial marijuana cultivation, processing, and sales; and explicitly allow for industrial hemp production.

Unlike Washington's I-502, Measure 80 does not establish a per se drugged driving standard for marijuana; instead, it relies on the state's existing drugged driving laws. It does create criminal penalties for commercial cultivation without a license, selling Oregon marijuana outside the state, and providing it to minors.

Medical marijuana entrepreneur and long-time hemp and legalization activist Paul Stanford relied primarily on his personal wealth to finance the signature gathering campaign for the initiative, but appears to have largely emptied his pockets doing so, and the Yes on 80 campaign has virtually no money in the bank. A political action committee formed to help Measure 80 pass, Oregonians for Law Reform, has also done some fundraising, but so far has raised only a few thousand dollars.

"We think we can squeak by and make some history," said Vote 80 campaign manager Roy Kaufmann. "We've done this before -- we repealed alcohol Prohibition in 1932, and when we talk about the damage Prohibition did to our country, that becomes a very useful argument. We only qualified for the ballot in July, and the electorate is pretty evenly split right now, with a lot of undecideds. We think we can reach the undecided voters."

"It's a toss-up according to the latest poll," said Stanford. "That's not a good place to be at this point in the campaign," he conceded, "but we still have a large number of undecideds, and we just need to get the word out about how our initiative will enhance public safety, provide funding for new technologies and impairment studies, and set up a series of controls to keep it from going to kids and going out of state."

Stanford said the campaign would have to rely on "earned media," or, in other words, depend on generating news stories in the state's mass media, because it doesn't have the money for expensive paid media campaigns. As of about a week ago, the campaign reported having only $1,800 in the bank.

Oregonians for Law Reform has raised about $4,000 for the campaign so far, said spokesman Sam Chapman.

"We're going to be using the money for advertising, phone banking, and things like stickers, and we're also mobilizing students to reach out to their communities," said the former University of Oregon Students for Sensible Policy chapter president. "The majority of voters in Oregon just aren't aware this is even on the ballot -- if we can get to them before they get all the negative slant from the media, we have a good chance to turn out a lot of votes, especially students, since they don't need much persuading."

While Oregonians for Law Reform could undertake broader criminal justice work in the future, it was created primarily as a vehicle for passing Measure 80, Chapman said.

"We started the PAC on September 15 with a two-fold purpose: to raise money for Measure 80 and to act as an independent complementary group to the measure and the campaign," he said. "When we started, we hoped we could open the door back up for large outside donors, but it looks like they've settled on Washington and Colorado. We recognize that, and are trying to do a grassroots campaign."

Anti-Measure 80 billboard paid for by the Drug Free America Foundation (Paul Stanford)
Unlike the Colorado and Washington initiatives, Measure 80 has not managed to attract the big money funders, such as Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, the Drug Policy Alliance lobbying and campaign arm, Drug Policy Action Network, or the Marijuana Policy Project. Those groups have poured millions of dollars into the other initiatives, but not Oregon. 

MPP communications director Morgan Fox wouldn't directly address Oregon, but did explain what made the group comfortable putting money into the Colorado effort.

"Several things made the state an attractive one in which to attempt a ballot initiative," Fox said. "First, the polling looked good for the past couple of years and didn't show any signs of fluctuating by large degrees. Second, there is already a thriving medical marijuana industry and regulatory structure in place that provide an example similar to how the state will look after the passage of Amendment 64, making it much easier to convince unsure voters and make the arguments in favor more concrete. Third, there was a well-established activist community in the state that was effective, organized, and eager to move forward. This last part is very important, since most ballot initiatives are truly the product of grassroots local activists within a state who put together a plan that gets the attention of national organizations that are trying to determine how to best spend their all-too-limited resources."

"Both of the other initiatives were conceived, drafted, polled, and then put on the ballot by organizations that already had the money," said Stanford.

"The big funders saw Colorado and Washington pop up real fast," said Chapman, "and organizers made a lot of compromises in Colorado and Washington in order to poll higher and reach out to certain demographics, like the drugged driving provision in Washington -- that was tossing a bone to law enforcement and the scared mom demographic. Measure 80 is arguably for more progressive personal freedoms than either Colorado or Washington."

If Measure 80 isn't garnering much financial support, at least it isn't seeing a whole lot of organized opposition, either. While local law enforcement and conservative newspaper editorial boards have come out against it, the most significant opposition presence has been the appearance of some much-derided billboards paid for by the Florida-based Drug Free America Foundation.

 As the clock ticks down, Stanford is putting a brave face on things. "We have a shot; there's still a chance we can win," he said. "I'm still optimistic that all three states can pass marijuana reform initiatives and basically legalize personal sale and possession. That would be for the drug war what the falling of the Berlin Wall was for the Cold War."

Even if Measure 80 doesn't win, it at least has to not be a wipe-out, Chapman said.

"If we get under 40%, there will be blowback," he predicted. "The big funders won't come back to Oregon for a long time, and we're likely to be playing damage control in the legislature for the next four years. This could also hurt our medical system. There are raids going on, and we could see legislators backed by law enforcement saying we couldn't get our act together and now let's repeal some stuff."

Oregon votes entirely by mail. Voters will receive their ballot beginning next week. If Measure 80 is going to win over those undecideds and eke out a victory, it has to be getting to them right now.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


lohchief (not verified)

I don't pay a lot of attention to what the pundits have to say about anything.Since msm is all owned by a few mega corporations,what they is slanted at least.I for one will vote yes on 80.If it passes fine,if it doesn't,there is always the next time.To try and repeat the doggerel about 'protecting our kids' just who do you think your fooling? Ask any kid in school about what drugs are available.And,if they are willing to tell you the truth,you will be I was.Prohibition doesn't stop anything.Alcohol is legal,yet look at all the damage it does on a daily basis to those who drink it,and to those that are victims of it's effects.Legalize,tax it,sell it out of specialized stores just like booze.Or.....keep it illegal and fill the prisons with your own family members just like what's happening right now.It's up to you folks,it's up to you.

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 8:11pm Permalink
Anon (not verified)

In reply to by lohchief (not verified)

I guess everyone should take careful notes of the legalization campaign in Washington State.  This is the ACLU's first legalization initiative and they are about to accomplish something in that state that has never been done by the well-funded pro-marijuana groups.

Sat, 10/13/2012 - 4:09am Permalink
optimisticoregonian (not verified)

In my opinion, for voters to get comfortable with the idea of marijuana legalization they need to reestablish a relationship to it, primarily through education.  Also it is important to reestablish a healthy relationship with marijuana through responsible use.  This means making available different strains of marijuana with varing degrees of THC content.  Just as there is alcohol containing different percentages of alcohol to accomodate a persons tastes.  It is not necessary it get wasted every time you consume.   With the variety and potency of todays marijuana strains it is possible to select a strain that is suitable to one's particular conditon and or preferences.  This can promote a better understanding of the relationship you have with marijauna, which hopefully exercises responsibility.   

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:23pm Permalink
Duane R. Olson (not verified)

Mr. Smith;  Remember me?  May I inquire; "What ever happened to my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument that the executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States have, for more than 35-years, conducted America's "WAR on DRUGS" against any person at random, NOT registered with the attorney general for federal jurisdiction to be federally regulated in the closed commercial system of controlled substances under color of FRAUD"!

Inquiring minds want to know!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 2:41pm Permalink
Duane R. Olson (not verified)

To the movers and shakers of Proposition 80 in Oregon; THERE IS NO congressional enated federal crimiinal statute signed into public law by the President of the United States that would PROHIBIT, FORBID, or make it a federal crime for any person at random NOT registered/regulated to plant, cultivaste, harvest, and ingest for whatever purpose and by whatever means the cannabis plant "WE" all call marijuana!  Wanna bet? 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 2:47pm Permalink
Duane R. Olson (not verified)

In reply to by spiritofmountains (not verified)


“TRICKY-DICK”and his White House Plumbers have scored against “WE, the people” once again!

Careful analysis and research investigation reveals that there is no punishment prescribed in The Comprehensive Drug Prevention and Control Act of 1970, Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(b), for ‘any person’ at random NOT REGISTERED with the attorney general.

Without constructive implication or conclusions of law, and supported SOLELY by the bifurcated and cryptic statutes of toxic words of art within the Controlled Substance Act itself, the statutes prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that ‘any person’ NOT REGISTERED with the attorney general for federal jurisdiction to be federally regulated in the closed commercial system of Controlled Substances is  E X E M P T  from federal jurisdictional authority!


Before you shred this paper and trash it, consider this; for over two-hundred years, scholars, intellectuals, and parliamentarians from around the World have proclaimed America’s documents for self-governing by “WE, the people” as the work of GENIUS!

Do you honestly think that the Framers and Founders of this Republic “WE” like to call America would have ever created, much less endorsed, a document for self-government that would bestow on the central government of these United States the POWER to enact a “LAW” that would take-away the Framers and Founders life, liberty, and property, and then imprison for buying, selling, using, or abusing their favorite recreational drink . . .TEA . . . well, do you?

I thought not!  It is not the subject matter of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinates, or controlled substances that is the issue here, it is the People’s Perpetual Protections Secured in the Constitution for the United States that is the issue here and it takes an Amendment to the Constitution for the central government of the United States to have jurisdictional authority to PROHIBIT,FORBID, or make it UNLAWFULfor ‘any person’ at random to put mustard on their hot-dog, get their hair cut any way they want, pull a weed and smoke it, shoot up with flower resins, or to burn the American flag which stands for the right to burn it! 

Send e-mail address for a synopsis of findings for the unquestionable evidence to prove the above statement!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 4:41pm Permalink
War Vet (not verified)

In reply to by Duane R. Olson (not verified)

You are right, there is no amendment stating any drug is illegal . . . not even the state's rights amendment (10th I think) can outlaw any mind altering substance, but regulate it like only being sold on a certain day -or like 3.2% Alc beer etc.  Of course I'm to understand there is a law regarding committing treason during a time of war, which carries the punishment of death, life or a few years behind bars . . . because drug prohibition creates illegal drug money which the terrorists of 9/11 and our enemies in our two wars use, a cop can be legally executed for busting a man for a single marijuana pipe or marijuana cigarette based on the fact he is creating the action of prohibition and prohibition makes drug money and drug money finances terrorism, therefore the cop is a terrorist sympathizer via cause and effect and action.  It's illegal to arrest anyone for meth or cocaine and if we can prove we are at war with terrorists, then we can prove the cop is a Muslim Terrorist Sympathizer based solely on action (though the cop may not know it, let alone support Islamic extremism, but ignorance isn't an excuse to be denied punishment) . . . especially since it's the will, desire and commands of the terrorists to keep drugs illegal and to sell drugs and to use illegal drug money, therefore defaulting the officer and DOJ as Muslim terrorists (and if we were at war with let's say, Buddhist Terrorists, then they would be Buddhists Terrorist Sympathizers etc) . . . too bad they don't see it that way: that there actions created the financial nitch that allowed 9/11 and 6,500+ dead U.S. soldiers.  Again, cops cannot stop 100% of all the dope, and drug dealers and drug users and had since the 1930's to eradicate all the American dope and dope users and since 1961 (U.N. Single Convention) to eradicate 100% of all the world's dope and dope users, but the cops go ahead and receive a full paycheck with all its benefits etc for not completing their jobs, for doing maybe 15% of the entire job we pay them to do: this is called fraud . . . would you pay full price for half a car or half a house?  What if you paid the babysitter $50 in advance for 7hrs of watching your kids, and the babysitter left after only 2hrs -without reimbursing the client the remaining sum of money for hours not completed . . . the easiest job in the world is that of a cop: they get paid way too much to do nothing: proof cops don't work: drugs still exist at the end of their shift or career.  So drug prohibition and enforcement creates criminals and traitors out of our law enforcement officers, judges and attorneys etc..

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 5:41pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

There seem to be a lot of debates going on in Washington state, and going well, there was I think a pretty iconic moment in one of them yesterday. The MMJ dispensary owner anti-I-502 guy Sarich brings out this cannabis seedling, to make some bogus point. His narc ally participating in the debate just buries his head in his hands. This makes the point of the pro-502 black minister, who's already said he's for I-502 (but "hates marijuana") because the law is enforced more in the black community than the white, at heavy permanent cost to lives and careers, and he promptly noted that Sarich didn't have to worry about getting arrested by the narc because he's white.

Challenge the opposition to debates, and mock them unmercifully if they refuse. Make people criminals and then refuse to explain why in open public debate? Do they really expect people to respect a law whose defenders refuse to face their fellow citizens to defend it?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 6:32pm Permalink
Duane R. Olson (not verified)

In reply to by saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

dear hypocrisy; I agree with your complaint about African Americans being arrested but you will get no sympathy from my friend, Mr. Cundiff who is on his 12th year of a life without parole sentence in federal prison for a reverse sting operation by the DEA for "phantom" marijuana that never was!  Point is, the central government of the United States has no police power to PROHIBIT, FORBID, or make it a federal crime for any person at random NOT REGISTER/REGULATED to buy, sell, use, or abuse, much of anything!  Ours is a government of limited power and worse, the movers and shakers in high government office know that,but the sheeple keep right on believing them!  IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR 'rights' ARE, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY!!  Watch for the new book published next month entitled; NIXON'S "WAR on DRUGS"!  The daddy rabbit of all FRAUDS!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 7:10pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

I think it's safe to say that even those who oppose legalization have had at least enough exposure to the marijuana culture that they wouldn't be fooled by such blatant bs propaganda as that billboard sign that shows what looks like a meth addict as a representation of a marijuana user.  Why can't they fight an honest fight against the initiate, why resort to absurd, over-blown lies to try to persuade people?  With 50% of Americans supporting legalization, no one is going to believe that's true.  Some people are still stuck in the past, thinking that Americans are mindless sheep that believe whatever we are told.  The Information Age of technology and the Internet at our fingertips ended that mess a long time ago.  People should feel insulted every time someone in power attempts to lie to them, because that lie will be analyzed and exposed within minutes on the Internet, for everyone to see.

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 7:09pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

In reply to by Uncle Bob (not verified)

I suspect a meth addict using weed to ease the coming down, isn't that a common practice? So the clowns found a meth addict, maybe one in possession of weed, and in their reefer madness crazed world think this photo is a clear and honest example of what reefer does to you.

But the ghastly news of what people who can't handle alcohol have done (including pedophiles, alcohol is the drug of choice of pedophiles, goddamnit!) to innocent people never stops, and it never seems to start with cannabis. What is it with the public health community that they won't honestly state the public health facts on the various costs of alcohol use vs. cannabis use? Afraid of losing their funding by pissing off the powers that be? Or to put it a little more kindly to them, maybe they're being held hostage by the alcohol supremacist thugs still in charge, wildly overpopulated in political office as they are in a country that is split down the middle on cannabis legalization, even before a proper debate on the subject. The public health community isn't necessarily a special interest that profits from the war on selected drug users, but they are public entities and public interest groups that are AWOL from the debate on the proper place of adult cannabis use, which can only be determined through keeping in mind what's up with its competition alcohol. 

I'll second those thoughts on the internet. Thank goodness for the Internet!

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 1:45am Permalink


When: Saturday Oct 27 8PM - 2AM
Where: Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th Ave, Portland, (971) 229-1455
Cost: $7-$13 sliding scale
Hosts: Boo Frog, YES ON 80, Slabtown

This will be a rock n' roll Halloween party extravaganza featuring the psychedelic sounds of Boo Frog and The Verner Pantons, with Voodoo Doughnut's Trés Shannon as M.C. It is also a fundraiser for YES ON MEASURE 80, The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act. Wear your Halloween costume! There will be munchies, information stations, photo opportunities, a costume contest, and more...

Money raised will go to fund YES ON 80.


Sun, 10/14/2012 - 11:07pm Permalink
m dar (not verified)

When the Billboards show the truth-

 List the 50+ companies licensed by the Dept of Health and Human Resources for the rights for each medical application for Delta 9 THC... and show the toxic drugs those companies now sell.

Ask if people want their cloths to last 2x as long with Hemp Fiber.

Ask why the DEA doesn't manage to stop certain Drug exports from certain countries... but then captures s certain amount, when those exports are paid for after leaving the exporting country.

... there are many 'advertisements' that can be placed on billboards which would make the uninformed question both the logic and intent of the 'Drug War'.

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 9:37am Permalink

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