Oregon voters have a lot on their plates this week as two important items will be appearing on their voting ballots. Up for a vote are important GMO banning and restriction initiatives, namely, 15-119, as well as Measure 91, which would legalize marijuana in the state.
Oregonians have expressed their desire to both legalize marijuana and ban GMOs in overwhelming numbers, yet a Medford, Oregon station, KTVL, aired a five minute ad for the No on Measure 91 campaign, giving cops free reign to try to sway voters against legalizing marijuana, with no attempt to offer balanced coverage. What’s more, the commercial was aired for FREE. So much for the ‘free’ press.
You can watch the video for yourself:
“A High State Of Mind: Law Enforcement And The OLCC [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] Discuss Regulatory Changes If Measure 91 Passes”
The coverage went on with its scare-mongering as is the habit of the ‘war against drugs’ front. It opens with a Klamath County Sheriff, Frank Skrah, saying voting for Measure 91 will mean more deaths on Oregon roads.
In full uniform, the Sheriff commented for the cameras:
“There’s enough carnage on the highway we sure as heck don’t need anymore.”
Oddly, the two states that have already legalized marijuana are experiencing declining rates of traffic fatalities. Who needs evidence? We can just take the kindly sheriff’s word for it – right.
It is much more likely that law enforcement agencies are worried about funding drying up. After all, the number of arrests for drug-related (mostly marijuana) arrests in the US over the past years are staggering:
Total Annual Drug Arrests in the US, by Type:
- (2012) Of the 1,552,432 arrests for drug law violations in 2012, 82.2% (1,276,099) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.8% (276,333) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
- (2011) Of the 1,531,251 arrests for drug law violations in 2011, 81.8% (1,252,563) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 18.2% (278,687) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
- (2010) Of the 1,638,846 arrests for drug law violations in 2010, 81.9% (1,342,215) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 18.1% (296,631) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug.
- (2007) Of the 1,841,182 arrests for drug law violations in 2007, 82.5% (1,518,975) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.5% (322,207) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug.
It would have been nice if the KTVL reporters who presented the ad had checked their facts, let’s say by referencing newspapers like the The Washington Post, to prove Sheriff Skrah wrong in his prediction.
No matter, the poster boy for the anti-war campaign carried on. He then intoned how much enforcement costs would rise under legalization:
“You need a DRE, a Drug Recognition Expert. That requires additional training, that requires additional time, that requires bringing that DRE in to give the folks that are arrested a different set of sobriety examinations and the cost of that is gonna be astronomical.”
Again, an interesting statement considering that the drug war has been completely ineffective and has cost tax payers trillions, and more than half a million people are living in jail on the public’s dollar.
Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington are enjoying record tax-profits from the legalization of marijuana. Just think what all those dollars could be used for besides paying cops to arrest people unnecessarily. States might actually be able to build better schools, libraries, high-speed public transit, or more green spaces.
Funny too, that 35% of the tax revenue coming from Measure 91 goes to law enforcement, particularly to help them hire and train more DREs (drug recognition experts). Sheriff Skrah’s “astronomical” cost was estimated by the Secretary of State’s office to be approximately $400,000 annually for three new Highway Interdiction Team members, training of all Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement, and training Drug Recognition Experts, whereas Measure 91 is estimated to bring in $17 to $40 million annually.
The Next Anti-Marijuana Legalization Ad
Next up in the free ‘anti-marijuana legalization’ advertisement was the chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Rob Patridge. You can bet he had something to say about the bill passing. It is well known that alcohol purveyors are concerned about pot use interfering with their sales. He also deceivingly tells viewers that if the measure were to pass there would be no standard to measure impairment for drivers.
He fails to mention that THC isn’t like alcohol and no scientific standard exists. He fails to mention that driving while high is a crime cops bust people for now even without a standard, and that Measure 91 dedicates funds to the study of a scientifically reliable standard.
Patridge goes on to claim that just anyone will be able to purchase pot:
“You can be a producer, a distributor and a wholesaler and sell, so you can … hold all four licenses.”
If you want to get loaded, why don’t you just order a stiff drink? There is a reason there is not a bar and liquor store on every block in Oregon. The OLCC has already been given the regulatory authority to limit them, just as they are given that authority to limit pot shops under Measure 91.
But wait, there’s more.
Next, KTVL gives the Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert the spotlight, who is then allowed to slam marijuana edibles while pictures of gory scenes appear on screen. Heckert says:
“Our whole point is no one under 21 is gonna be using this product, so why are we making them so attractive to children.”
Another part of Measure 91 gives OLCC all the authority they need to prohibit any marketing, packaging, or advertising that would appeal to kids. Hmm. Fear monger much?
They even complain about the smell of marijuana – one that might come from gardens of home growers at harvest time. The District Attorney says:
“They can’t open up their windows, they can’t go out and enjoy their backyard because of the odor.”
It is clear that certain ‘authorities’ don’t want another state to pass laws legalizing marijuana, but in the meantime, go ahead and eat those GMOs. They don’t stink at all.