The only polling data we have for Oregon’s legalization initiative, Measure 80, shows a very close race with a massive number of undecided voters. In a September survey of 633 registered voters by SurveyUSA, 37% of voters said they were definitely voting yes on the measure, 41% said they were definitely voting no, and 22% remain undecided.
Now there is a way you can help convert those undecideds into strong YES votes! JustSayNow has partnered with Oregonians for Law Reform to provide a web-based phone banking system to enable cannabis advocates around the country to volunteer their time to pass Measure 80.
Click here to easily register and begin calling voters today. Once you create an account, simply click start calling voters for Measure 80 and you will be given a step by step script and the information for a registered voter in Oregon.
JustSayNow’s program also provides options to call voters in support of Colorado’s Amendment 64, and even has a unique “Women Calling Women” feature so female cannabis reformers can directly reach out to other women.
If each person who saw this blog post committed to making just 5-10 calls a day from now until November 6th, we will see legalized marijuana in 2012.
Sign up today: START CALLING VOTERS
Note: The phone banking for Oregon is available during proper call hours.
Guest Blog by Joshua Schimberg, Executive Director of Texas NORML
2012 Election is the Most Important in Marijuana Law Reform History
This year could likely be the most significant in marijuana law reform history. In case you hadn’t heard, three states, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, will be voting on some form of marijuana legalization on November 6th, and two states, Arkansas and Massachusetts, will be voting on medical marijuana.
Perhaps even more significant than all of these proposals, are the recent nationwide polling numbers regarding marijuana legalization. In October, 2011, for the first time ever, Gallup reported a plurality of Americans, 50%, were in favor of legalizing marijuana, with 46% opposed. Then, in March, 2012, Rasmussen also reported a plurality of Americans in favor of “legalizing and taxing” marijuana (47% favored, 42% opposed) in order to “help the nations financial problems.” However, the biggest news came just a few months later when Rasmussen, again, asked the question, but with a slightly different slant. In May, Rasmussen asked Americans if they were favored legalizing and regulating marijuana “in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco,” and the answer was overwhelmingly yes, with 56% in favor and just 36% opposed. Considering the polling trend over the past decade, this most recent poll seems to suggest that we are nearing a point where Americans support marijuana legalization at a two to one margin. This is huge news, but it doesn’t necessarily mean an easy or quick victory.
The last time any state voted on marijuana legalization was in 2010, when California’s Prop. 19 was voted down in what many people viewed as an upset. That defeat, despite widespread support of marijuana legalization in California, demonstrated the complicated nature of voter ballot initiatives, and also highlighted fault lines in the activist community. Marijuana law reform activists and supporters are not a monolithic group. More than fifteen years of legal medical marijuana in California, brought about by the passage of Prop. 215 in 1996, have changed the activist landscape there and, more broadly, the west coast. Subgroups and alternate factions of activists, with different goals and agendas, have popped up not just in California, but in many states which have seen years of legal medical marijuana access.
Differences between activist groups were highlighted prior to California’s vote on Prop. 19. Some medical marijuana activists feared it would harm their access, and some legalization activists feared it didn’t go far enough, or still included too many restrictions. The problem with that logic is medical marijuana has been increasingly under attack, and even in California, according to the California Criminal Justice Statistics Center, misdemeanor arrests for marijuana have sharply increased over the past 20 years to record levels of nearly 55,000 per year, comprising 22% of all drug arrests. Marijuana possession arrests in California have increased more than 100% since 1990. Nationwide in that same time, marijuana arrests have increased more than 250%, going from 326,850 to more than 850,000, and nearly 90% of those arrests are for possession. What conclusion should activists take from this?
Despite the success of medical marijuana laws, there is much more work to be done in order to end the massive number of marijuana arrests nationwide. And if history is any indicator of how to accomplish that, states like California will have to take the lead as they did with medical marijuana. Since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, 16 other states, and Washington D.C., have followed suit. Even with more than one third of our country having passed some form of medical marijuana, our Federal government has not yet moved on the issue.
Enactment of marijuana prohibition didn’t happen overnight; neither will its end.
Consider that the first state to pass a law against marijuana was Massachusetts in 1911, 26 years before Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. During the 26 years between Massachusetts’ law and the Tax Act, nearly 20 other states passed anti-marijuana laws. Solidification of marijuana prohibition came more than thirty years after the Tax Act, when it was listed as a Schedule I Controlled Substance under 1970’s Controlled Substances Act, after which marijuana arrests began to balloon. The lesson here is that changing established public policy is not something that can be accomplished uniformly, quickly, or easily. But, nationwide policy is more likely to change as more states join in, and this November could very well bring about the first state to vote for legal marijuana. If so, it will likely be the first in a long line of states to do so before the Federal government.
For that reason it is imperative for marijuana law reform activists in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, to put everything into passing their respective legalization initiatives.
The sooner we can get the first “domino” to fall, the quicker more broad changes will happen. Activists fighting against activists are delaying progress, and they should keep in mind that public opinion plays a vital role in voter initiatives. If 56% support legalizing and regulating marijuana “in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco,” it’s highly likely the number will significantly drop without sensible regulations. Even many in the legalization community agree with some sensible regulations, especially if that expedites an end to hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests every year.
Ending those arrests is the goal of organizations like NORML, and that is why we support any and all steps in that direction. Whether it’s a decriminalization bill, an affirmative defense medical bill, (both of which NORML has supported in Texas for years) or if it’s a legalization bill (with regulations) in Colorado, Oregon, or Washington, NORML supports any and all chances at protecting responsible, adult marijuana consumers from arrest and imprisonment.
Election Day 2012 is November 6th, so keep an eye on Colorado, Oregon, and Washington to see who will be first to legalize. Keep an eye on Arkansas and Massachusetts to see who will be the next medical marijuana state.
This is the biggest Election Day in the history of marijuana law reform.
For more information on marijuana law reform around the country, visit:
A new statewide poll, just released by SurveyUSA, shows many Oregonians still undecided on this fall’s ballot initiative that would legalize and regulate cannabis, Measure 80. In a survey of 633 registered voters, 37% said they were definitely voting yes on the measure, 41% said they were definitely voting no, and 22% remain undecided. Unlike the other two initiatives in Colorado and Washington, which are showing strong leads, many voters seem to have not made up their minds yet about the Oregon initiative.
If you live in Oregon you can learn more about Measure 80 by visiting the campaign’s website here. You can also learn more ways to help pass marijuana legalization in Oregon this fall by visiting the website for pro-Measure 80 PAC, Oregonians for Law Reform here.
Be sure to check out NORML’s 2012 voter guide, Smoke the Vote, here and find out all the ways cannabis comes into play in this fall’s election. Get informed, get educated, spread the word, and help us smoke the vote in November.
Four of the six statewide marijuana initiatives appearing on the November 2012 ballot are solidly favored among likely voters.
Voters in six states – Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, and Washington – will be deciding on marijuana-specific ballot measures this November. In Massachusetts, voters will decide on Question 3, a statewide proposal that seeks to allow for the physician-recommended possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Arkansas voters will decide on a similar measure, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2012. Montana voters will decide on Initiative Referendum 124, which is a referendum on Senate Bill 423 – a 2011 measure that seeks to restrict the state’s 2004, voter approved medical cannabis law.
Colorado voters will decide on Amendment 64, which immediately allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. Oregon voters will decide on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which provides for the state-licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The measure does not impose state-licensing or taxation requirements upon those who wish to cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes. Finally, in Washington, voters will decide on Initiative 502, which seeks to regulate the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana for adults. The measure also removes criminal penalties specific to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use.
According to the most recently available polling, several of these measures hold firm leads among likely voters. In Colorado, 47 percent of respondents say that they are backing Amendment 64, according to a September Public Policy poll of 1,001 likely voters. Thirty-eight percent of likely voters said that they opposed the measure and 15 percent were undecided. [UPDATE: Just released polling now shows the measure leading by a margin of 51 percent to 40 percent.]
In Massachusetts, a majority of likely voters support Question 3. A Public Policy Polling survey released in August reported that 58 percent of respondents favor the measure versus only 27 percent who oppose it.
In Montana, a majority of voters do not support enacting limits on the state’s medical marijuana law, according to a just-published poll of 656 likely voters.
And in Washington, nearly six out of ten voters say they intend to decide in favor of I-502, according to a Survey USA poll released this week. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that they will vote ‘yes’ on the measure, versus only 34 percent who said they would vote ‘no.’ Nine percent remain undecided.
In Oregon, a July poll not specific to the initiative conducted by Public Policy Polling reported that only 43 percent of Oregonians believed that cannabis use should be legal, versus 46 percent who endorsed it remaining illegal. No recent polling is available in Arkansas.
NORML has additional details about this November’s statewide and municipal ballot proposals at our ‘Smoke the Vote’ webpage here.
According to Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, a group of bipartisan Senators, led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D), have filed legislation seeking to exempt industrial hemp (which, in effect, is very low potent cannabis) from the Controlled Substances Act (which, concerning cannabis specifically, is largely directed at prohibiting recreational and therapeutic use of the herb).
Update: You can help advocate for this bill’s passage here.
One of the most indefensible aspects of modern Cannabis Prohibition is the federal government’s continued opposition to allowing American farmers and consumers benefit from a domestic industrial hemp industry, when, ridiculously, other free market and democratic countries who also maintain user prohibitions on cannabis—countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and notably Canada—allow their farmers to legally cultivate industrial cannabis. This inherently places American farmers and agriculture at a competitive disadvantage and American consumers paying higher costs for imported raw and finished hemp products.
Senator Wyden tells The Hill:
“I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it resembles an illegal one,” Wyden said. “Raising this issue has sparked a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the U.S.’s ban on industrial hemp is. I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near
Read more here.
To learn everything you need to know about hemp and efforts to reform America’s antiquated industrial hemp laws, please check out our hempen friends: