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Curry County Democrats Policy Position: Marijuana

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Curry County
Democratic Central Committee

 

Resolution of the Curry County Democratic Central Committee in Favor of Legalization of Marijuana

BACKGROUND

The Oregon Legislature, in 1973, was the first in the nation to make possession of one ounce or less of marijuana punishable as a traffic-like infraction with a maximum fine of $100. The maximum fine was raised in 1989 to $1,000. The Legislature passed a bill to recriminalize possession in 1997, but opponents gathered signatures to force a statewide vote. Voters rejected the recriminalization law in 1998. Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco).

In the forty years since possession of small amounts was decriminalized in Oregon, national public support for legalization has continued to grow. A PEW Research poll from March 2013 shows that the majority of Americans (52%) now support legalization. Support for legalization decreases with age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalization, and Democrats and Independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.

In November 2012 voters in Colorado and Washington approved marijuana for personal use. With the introduction of HB 3371, Oregon now joins Hawaii, Maine, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont on the list of states with pending legislation to legalize the adult use of marijuana. They will soon be joined by New Hampshire, Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota and Nevada. Eighteen states (including Oregon) and Washington, D.C. have made medical marijuana legal, while 10 others have formal measures pending to legalize medical marijuana.

The current policy of prohibition has proven to be deeply flawed. Almost 90% of the 5 million Americans arrested in the past decade for violation of marijuana laws were arrested for simple possession – not for trafficking or sale. The tremendous human and financial costs of maintaining this policy of prohibition clearly outweigh any gains. Marijuana prohibition, like alcohol prohibition, costs taxpayers too much and enriches criminal organizations.

Enforcement of marijuana prohibition costs the public at least $10 billion per year, wasting valuable law enforcement resources that should be focused on serious and violent crimes. And, enforcement has disproportionately harmed low-income and minority communities. Ending this policy of prohibition and replacing it with a sensible regulatory and taxation framework will reduce the fiscal and overpopulation burdens on the Oregon Department of Corrections, save millions of dollars of taxpayers money now spent on law enforcement and court costs and generate millions in new tax revenue to help support critical public services.

RESOLUTION

  • We the Curry County Democratic Central Committee (of Oregon) assert the wisdom of abandoning the failed policy of prohibition and support legislative actions or citizen initiatives to legalize responsible, personal use of marijuana by adults.

  • We assert that millions of Americans (including Oregonians) use marijuana responsibly and support legalization and public policies should reflect those realities.

  • We propose the replacement of prohibition with a strong regulatory and taxation framework to create a legally controlled market for marijuana where consumers can purchase from a safe, legal, regulated source in addition to allowing Oregonians to produce their own homegrown.

  • We assert that the new marijuana industry will create thousands of new jobs in multiple business sectors throughout Oregon.

  • We support a sensible regulatory system that will allow for legal production, distribution, sale, and taxation of marijuana for the responsible personal use by adults while providing strict oversight to prohibit use by minors.

  • We assert that imposing reasonable taxes on marijuana will generate millions of dollars of new revenue from the new marijuana industry while saving millions now spent on law enforcement and courts. New revenues can help support critical public services and can be used for education, mental health and substance abuse services, law enforcement and public safety, and general fund.

  • We recognize the inevitability of marijuana legalization in Oregon.

  • We therefore recommend that the State Legislature pass comprehensive marijuana legalization legislation that establishes the right of Oregon residents to purchase, grow, and use marijuana and marijuana-derived products, and the right of commercial production, distribution, and sales of marijuana and marijuana-derived products. We further recommend that the State establish a comprehensive, but not unduly burdensome, licensing system for commercial producers, distributors, and sellers to assure product quality and a taxation system to generate revenue to pay for administrative costs and to add revenue to the general fund.

Ratified by The Curry County Democratic Central Committee on May 18, 2013

Bob Horel

Chairperson, Curry County Democratic Central Committee

RESOURCES AND READINGS

GENERAL INFORMATION

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug)

ADVOCATES

The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws “NORML”
http://norml.org/

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) – We Change Laws
http://www.mpp.org/

77th Oregon Legislative Assembly — 2013 Regular Session House Bill 3371 – Text of current version
http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measpdf/hb3300.dir/hb3371.intro.pdf

Track HB 3371
http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2013/HB3371/

READINGS

The Oregonian, January 27, 2013 “Oregon seen as next battleground for marijuana legalization”
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/01/oregon_seen_as_next_battlegrou.html

The Oregonian Editorial Board, November 7, 2012, “Oregon Lawmakers should take up marijuana legalization”
http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/11/oregon_lawmakers_should_take_u.html

PEW Research Center for the People & the Press: Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana
http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/

November 7, 2012 Oregonian Editorial Board – Oregon lawmakers should take up marijuana legalization
http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/11/oregon_lawmakers_should_take_u.html

The Atlantic, April 4, 2013
“The War on Drugs is Far More Immoral Than Most Drug Use”

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/the-war-on-drugs-is-far-moreimmoral-than-most-drug-use/274651/

The Nation Magazine, February 18, 2013
“Who Will Legalize Pot Next?”

http://www.thenation.com/article/172538/who-will-legalize-pot-next#

Time Magazine, January 28, 2013 “Will States Lead the Way to Legalizing Marijuana Nationwide?”
http://ideas.time.com/2013/01/28/will-states-lead-the-way-to-legalizing-marijuananationwide/

Time Magazine, January 15, 2013
“New Research Questions Marijuana’s Impact in Lowering IQ”

http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/15/new-research-questions-marijuanas-impact-inlowering-iq/

New York Times, March 7, 2012
Conservative Minister Pat Robertson supports marijuana legalization

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/us/pat-robertson-backs-legalizing-marijuana.html?_r=0

Testimony on the Legalization of Marijuana To the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety, October 28, 2009
by Dale H. Gieringer, Ph.D., Director, California NORMl

http://norml.org/pdf_files/AssPubSafety_Legalization.pdf

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