Last Friday, I got to attend the Portland City Club’s debate on Measure 80. Chief Petitioner and author of the measure, Paul Stanford argued in favor and District Attorney, Josh Marquis against. The luncheon was held at the fabulous Governor Hotel in their Heritage Room. I was happy to see that the room was full, as I found my way to the table where my generous host, friend and fellow activist, LK, had saved me a spot.
The arguments presented by Mr. Marquis were trite and clearly drawn from the “Just Say No” rhetoric that has brain-washed this country since Richard Nixon started the War on Drugs and Nancy Reagan followed up with the DARE program. This made it easy for Mr. Stanford to rebut, as most of what Mr. Marquis had to say has been refuted over the years. Paul did a great job and focused on public safety, including the children and the impact to the economy and jobs.
One main talking point made by Mr. Marquis was that he believes that since Oregon has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and has a unique medical marijuana program, this should be enough. He contends that supporters of Measure 80 are “creating a problem where there is none.”
In response to that, I would ask Mr. Marquis to talk to my friend Joel. He got popped for smoking a joint while he was fishing. He received a ticket for $585 and lost his driver’s license for six months, although he wasn’t even close to his car when he was busted. Because of our draconian drug laws, he was not eligible for a hardship license that would have allowed him to continue driving so he could work.
And, how about Melanie? She is a registered medical marijuana patient who has lost her children even though she is abiding by state law. The very agency that took money to register her as a medical marijuana patient has taken her children because she tested positive for cannabis!
I would guess that they would all disagree with Mr. Marquis; there is a problem, and the problem is prohibition.
The official video of the debate will be available on pdxcityclub.org soon, but Weedist found a copy of it on YouTube for your edification and enlightenment: