MEDFORD, Ore. – Millions of dollars are pouring in to the support of ballot measures for marijuana legalization, but Oregon is not seeing the same generosity as the election nears.
Marijuana activist are centering much of their financial support to those measures in the Washington and Colorado states, but a similar measure in Oregon, Measure 80, is struggling on public polls and funding.
Lots of donors feel strongly, saying the fact the Measure 80 has not polled well in Oregon, is a cause for concern, but local groups are hoping their efforts will turn the tides on the situation.
Washington’s Initiative 502 has received a staggering $3 million in donations, with Colorado sitting at $1.1 million as of mid-September. SoNorml, a local marijuana advocate, is hoping to dial into that same support.
“We have a phone tree set and we are making phone calls daily throughout our data base and our members,” said SoNorml Executive Director, Lori Duckworth.
Recent public polls mark Washington and Colorado at about 55% of residents voting “yes” for the legalization. SoNorml has been working to boost Oregon’s 37% by giving members the resources necessary.
“Asking them if they are registered voters, if they’re not, we’re handing them a voter registration card,” Duckworth explained, “and asking them to fill it out and and we’re paying their postage.”
Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based non-profit, donated $715,000 in Washington and another $90,000 in Colorado, in part due to the polls’ success.
“I’d say that these initiatives have the best shot of any marijuana legalization initiative that has ever been on the ballot,” stated Ethan Nadelmann, with the Drug Policy Alliance.
Officials explained Seattle is the only city in the country where leaders such as all city council members, the mayor, and the city attorney have pledged their support.
“Specifically, in Washington in general is a level of high level endorsement that we have not seen anywhere in the United States,” Nadelmann said. Nadalmann also said the state offered the foundation for such legislation.
“A statewide alcohol regulatory system, which provides something of a model for regulating marijuana,” Nadalmann explained.
Colorado also has a proven track record, this one being for a medical cannabis program.
“Regulating a part of a marijuana industry in order to maximize public health, protect public safety, maximize tax revenue,” said Nadelmann.
Regardless of money, calls or polls, both sides agree the votes will speak for themselves. Recent Oregon polls do show another 41% were opposed to Measure 80 and 22% were unsure how they’d vote, but again it’s really a guessing game until that November 6th deadline.