Oregon voters will likely have an important decision to make in this fall’s elections – one with far-reaching and even unanticipated outcomes – Legalizing Marijuana.
New Approach Oregon, backed by many of the same out of state interests that funded similar ballot measures in Washington state and Colorado, has indicated it has enough valid signatures to put it on the November ballot.
As with any new law, the unintended consequences of Marijuana Legalization are difficult to guess, but we know some of the information is just beginning to come in from those states. Washington’s law doesn’t even fully come online until July 8th.
A few things to consider about marijuana:
Anytime there is an increased supply of a drug (including alcohol and marijuana) there will be increased access for youth
The National Instiute for Health says one of every six adolescents who try the drug will develop an addiction
Increased risk of intoxicated driving with no effective field sobriety test
Colorado has seen two deaths associated with “edibles”
Scientists now say that the average strength of today’s marijuana is five to six times what it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
Why the rush? Marijuana has been decriminalized for years in Oregon. This is a risky social experiment that should be best considered only after we’ve had some time to see how it plays out in Washington and Colorado. Gathering more information should lead to a better informed decision, and that information should start coming in waves soon.
Oregonians stand at a crossroads and we must choose wisely for the protection of our youth.