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Marijuana is a Hot Topic for VotersBonnie King Salem-News.com
Cannabis advocates say prohibition's days are numbered
(SALEM, Ore.) - With governor races and other tight contests fighting for that last minute of "TV time" or spinning their wheels vying for another column inch of ink, voters are noticing that they're spending their time not talking about politicians nearly as much as they're discussing... pot.
The whole country's gone to it, or is clearly on their way. And now that most of the propaganda smoke has cleared, it seems the general public is coming to the same conclusion: marijuana isn't the villain it was cut out to be.
Voters in four states are weighing in on statewide marijuana reform ballot measures tomorrow.
A Gallup poll released last week shows that national support for making marijuana legal has reached an all-time high of 46% while support for current policies continued a gradual erosion to its lowest level on record.
According to the poll, “If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years.”
Oregon Voter Power conducted a survey that found voters under the age of 40 support Measure 74 by a 3-1 margin. "It says that voters become more motivated to cast their ballots when they hear more about the medical marijuana measure," said Anthony Johnson, co-author of the measure.
In Oregon, voters will decide whether to expand the state’s current medical marijuana law by authorizing state-licensed dispensaries (Measure 741) for patients.
"It's time to regulate medical marijuana to provide safe, immediate access for Oregon patients. The election on Measure 74 is going to be very close," Johnson said.
"Support for ending marijuana prohibition is not only growing among the populace, but we are also seeing prominent organizations coming out in support of reform," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
Californians will vote on Proposition 192, a potentially historic ballot measure that would make marijuana legal for all adults and allow local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorize various criminal and civil penalties.
"Thanks to initiatives like Proposition 19 in California, advocates for marijuana policy reform are gaining allies, from labor unions to the NAACP to Democratic Party committees, who will stand with us during future battles.
"So as we await tomorrow’s results, we are already looking forward to achieving major victories in 2012,” Kampia said.
12 California cities have local measures on their ballot that would allow them to tax recreational marijuana if Proposition 19 passes.
In Arizona3 and South Dakota4, voters will consider medical marijuana ballot initiatives. Arizona's measure would also allow qualifying patients and caregivers to purchase the drug from specific, closely watched clinics.
If their measures are passed, Arizona and South Dakota will become the 15th and 16th states to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
Win or lose at the ballot box, cannabis wins.
“No matter what happens tomorrow, it’s now undeniable that national public sentiment is increasingly turning against the idea that responsible adults should be criminalized for using a substance less harmful than alcohol," Kampia said.
The late Jack Herer had a initiative in California underway when he fell ill last fall. That Cannabis initiative which includes very little about taxation and is heavy on ending prohibition is expected to appear on the ballot in 2012.
It seems inevitable that the laws of our land will soon reflect the will of the people, whether in this election or those in the near future.
At that point, it is in the Federal Government's hands, as to whether or not they will respect States Rights, and allow the people to govern themselves.
1Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System Act: Oregon Measure 74
2California Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act: California Prop 19
3Arizona Medical Marijuana Question: AZ Prop 203
4South Dakota Medical Marijuana Act: SD Measure 13
Read Jack Herer's book online, to understand the history and politicization of cannabis: The Emperor Wears No Clothes
Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers. View articles written by Bonnie King
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