Goliath Fails to Topple David in Oregon

American politics is full of bullies, but nowhere are the bullies more apparent than in the groups trying to legalize marijuana.  In Oregon, the marijuana financiers, including George Soros’ Drug Policy Action, donated $9,273,848 towards Measure 91, the successful marijuana legalization ballot which won by a large margin in 2014. The opposition raised only $179,672 .  A similar ballot failed in the state two years earlier, when the financial backers of marijuana  gave their money to ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington, instead of Oregon.

In a manifestation of Goliath’s power over David, the pro-pot forces in Oregon filed complaints against the opposition to Measure 91.  The marijuana interests in Oregon had 45 times the amount of money as No on 91, thanks to the out-of-state money.  Egged on by disc jockey Russ Belville, they still felt a need to intimidate local drug prevention organizers

In letters sent out last week, the Secretary of State’s office didn’t find any merit in two complaints.   Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis didn’t violate campaign law as organizer of a 13-stop marijuana education tour.  After Rep. Blumenauer complained about the the tour’s organization, the tour was scaled back to 7 stops.  The complaint also cited DA Steven Leriche, campaign chair Mandi Puckett and Sheriff Gary Bettencourt, all of whom were cleared.

The Secretary of State’s Office said, “This office reviewed a video of one of the tour stops (Roseburg) and while the issue of marijuana was discussed, this in not unreasonable in the context of programming about substance abuse and drug abuse prevention. The measure was not discussed, and no one advocated for or against Measure 91.”   The office found that “there was very little  public employee participation in the actual execution of the Tour.”  Four pro-marijuana state legislatures had filed the complaint.

Beaverton pot advocate Jennifer Alexander filed a second complaint against Marquis and Leriche.  She claimed their work setting up the tour amounted to “political advocacy,” and that they were required to file as a political committee.  Compliance Specialist Jennifer Hertel wrote, “We have concluded that the Tour was not a political committee.”