After less than a week, polls will be held in Oregon to decide the issue of marijuana decriminalization. Meanwhile, the law enforcement officials have joined hands in support of the program.
“Yes on 91” is a campaign running in Oregon that favors the decriminalization of medical marijuana. On Wednesday, a letter was released by “Yes on 91” that was written by thirty former police officers, judgers, prosecutors and sheriffs. It said that considering the use of marijuana as a criminal act could not prove to be a success. Putting thousands of individuals, involved in crimes associated with marijuana, behind the bars can be equated with the misuse of public exchequer and a distraction to the law enforcing agencies. The communities can be made safer by using the same time and money for this purpose. It will be better to direct such resources to curb the crimes related to violence and theft.
Among the signatories of the letter, there include Kris Olson, Norm Stamper, Peter Tutmark, Stephen Downing and Tony Ryon who are former US attorney for the Oregon District, former Seattle police chief, retired deputy sheriff of Oregon County, former deputy chief of Los Angeles Police Department and retired lieutenant of Denver Police Department, respectively.
As the Measure 91 of Oregon comes into force, the grown up individuals will be allowed to keep up to 1 ounce of cannabis in public and up to 8 ounces at home. The taxes collected on the sale of marijuana will be utilized for bringing betterment in the departments, like education, drug prohibition and law enforcement. The newly launched cannabis industry will be monitored and regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
November 4 has been set as the date for the voters in Washington DC and Alaska to use their democratic power for treating cannabis as a pot drug. At the same time, the voters in Florida will be deciding about the legalization of medical marijuana.
Considering the results of recent voting in Oregon, the supporters of the program are 46 percent while those going against are 44 percent, so the former group enjoys a slight edge. The cannabis decriminalization initiative has also got the support of John Kitzhaber, Governor of Oregon.
In January, Kitzhaber said that he was sensing the move for cannabis legalization in Colorado and Washington. He added that it is necessary to launch an efficient system for drug regulation which can be appropriately devised by the legislature.
As reported by the state’s financial estimates committee, it would be collecting up to seventeen million dollar to forty million dollar yearly in terms of taxes on marijuana sales. Meanwhile, NerdWallet, a personal finance website, has published the results of its recent study which indicate that the yearly tax revenue may go from fifty to hundred million dollar.
It is also to be realized that the marijuana legalization program has not got the support of all the law enforcement officials from Oregon, as the move has been opposed by a number of sheriffs and district attorneys.
Josh Marquis, the District Attorney of Clatsop County, is an opposition spokesperson. He says that the use of the drug by minors and intoxicated driving raise a serious issue.
Marquis has been reported on Oregon Lives as saying that regarding the functional availability of the drug, any aspiring medical marijuana patient can have it in Oregon.
Until now, the medical use of marijuana has been decriminalized in 23 US states and the District of Columbia. As far Oregon, the state went for the program in 1998. In 2012, the states of Washington and Colorado made the use of marijuana as pot drug legal. However, as far as the federal law is concerned, it considers the use of cannabis as a criminal act.
The original text of the full letter and the list of its signatories are being presented as under:
DATE: Oct. 29, 2014
RE: Statement in support of Oregon’s Measure 91 from Law Enforcement
Treating marijuana as a crime has failed. Arresting and citing thousands of people in Oregon and elsewhere for marijuana-related crimes is a distraction to law enforcement and a misuse of taxpayer resources. The time and money spent should go to make our communities safer. Police resources should be focused on violent criminals, thieves and criminal cartels.
A regulated, legal and taxed system for marijuana has already been shown to work better in Colorado and Washington. Colorado, the first state to implement regulated sales, has seen a reduction in teen use, a drop in traffic fatalities, and a falling violent crime rate in Denver, where most dispensaries are located. Revenue is going to fund public services rather than into the pockets of criminals and we expect the same in Washington when data starts to come in from that state. The sky has not fallen and law enforcement officers are now directing their time toward serious crimes, in accordance with their communities’ wishes.
Measure 91 is built on the foundation provided by these states and tailored to Oregon. It will ensure 35% of tax revenue raised goes to law enforcement, including 10% each to cities and counties and 15% for state police. It is a better approach.
Given below is the list of the 30 law enforcement officials who have signed the letter:
- Norm Stamper—retired Seattle Police Chief
- Don Clark— retired Multnomah County Sheriff
- Stephen Downing— retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief
- Kris Olson— retired US Attorney for the District of Oregon
- Bill Riggs— retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice, Circuit Court Trial Judge and Court of Appeals Judge
- Inge Fryklund— retired Assistant State’s Attorney
- Paul Stiegleder— retired Lieutenant Sheriff
- Darian Stanford— former Drug Unit Prosecutor
- Pete Tutmark— former County Deputy Sheriff
- Jay Fished—Prosecutor
- Tony Ryan—retired Denver Police Department Lieutenant
- Finn Selander—retired Special Agent
- Jason Thomas—former Detention Officer and Sheriff’s Deputy
- John Baker—retired Sergeant
- Jay Fleming—former Undercover Narcotics Officer
- Le Roy Washington—retired Federal Probation Officer
- Nicholas Dial—former Deputy Sheriff
- Arnold Byron—retired US Customs Inspector
- Matt McCally—former Corrections Officer
- MacKenzie Allen—retired Deputy Sherif
- Leonard Frieling—former Judge
- Jim Doherty—former Prosecutor and Corrections Officer
- Shelley Fox-Loken—retired Parole and Probation Officer
- James Peet—former Police Officer
- David A Nichols—retired Superior Court Judge
- David Doddridge—retired Narcotics Officer and Military Police Officer
- Diane Goldstein—retired Lieutenant Commander
- Kyle Kazan—former Police Officer
- Nate Bradley—former Deputy Sheriff
- Leo Laurence—former Deputy Sheriff