EVERY ELECTION SEASON, the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet arrives in the mail. An informal poll I took shows that approximately .02 percent of voters actually read it before tossing it into the recycling bin. Which is a shame, as you can learn a great deal from its pages. I certainly did.
Any individual or group can place a statement for or against a ballot measure in the voters' guide. The secretary of state takes a hands-off approach to what is submitted, so there's no spell-checking or fact-checking. You are required to list who's responsible for its content.
We've talked plenty about how Measure 91 will legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis. The voters' guide has 24 statements of support, including endorsements from the City Club of Portland, a retired justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, the MD who was chief petitioner for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program back in 1998, law enforcement officials, religious leaders, and private citizens. It's a well thought-out collection of statements from a wide array of citizens.
There are 12 statements against. Eight of them are by Mandi Puckett, director of the No on 91 campaign.
Who? Puckett's a former certified prevention specialist with BestCare Treatment Services, a drug and alcohol rehab center with multiple locations around the state. She left to become coordinator of the No on 91 campaign, and recently came under fire when Representative Earl Blumenauer called for a federal investigation "to determine if federal tax dollars are being used illegally to influence a statewide election." Puckett was involved in a proposed series of 13 "Marijuana Education" events, but Blumenauer wrote, "The bias of the speakers selected, the overall one-sided focus of the events, and the proximity between these events and the upcoming elections are cause for concern." The majority of the events were eventually canceled.
On October 12, Portland radio host Russ Belville released a memo on his website regarding Puckett and her statements. It cites an email by Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, who wrote, "The OSSA [Oregon State Sheriffs' Association] paid for virtually all these. I signed/drafted one."
The No on 91 voters' guide statements are rife with exclamation points. They warn that pot edibles "target children!" And that children can eat enough to get "sick enough to die." And that "Measure 91 has NO requirements that pot-laced candy be kept out of the reach of children at home."
The most surreal of these is excerpted from a post by the drug awareness chairman of the Oregon State Elks Association—because if anyone is hip to the drug scene, it's the Elks. (Flomax counts, right?) It reads, "We have all seen the movies that feature young pot-smoking stoners like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and have laughed at their ridiculous antics. Unfortunately, the behavior of this character is not so unfamiliar with many of our children who are using marijuana regularly."
What the holy FUCK are you talking about? Your best argument is referencing a movie from 1982? If you want to keep anything out of the reach of children, that's the job of the parent or guardian. And please send me that nonexistent list of people who have died from consuming cannabis and nothing else. I'll send you a list of the 150 people who die each year from Tylenol.