Politics of pot
11:41
The Oregonian: 
Welcome to our live chat. Erik will join us at noon. You can send in questions and comments now. Once the chat gets underway, there will be a short delay between the submission of comments and their appearance in the chat.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 11:41 The Oregonian
11:58
Erik Lukens: 
Hi, and welcome to our marijuana legalization chat. The Legislature is considering a bill, HB 3371, that charges the OLCC with regulating pot much as it does alcohol. We have urged the Legislature to refer the proposal to the ballot, reasoning that it's best for lawmakers to create a legalization scheme, then ask voters to weigh in. What do you think?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 11:58 Erik Lukens
11:58
[Comment From JR in PDXJR in PDX: ] 
What are the chances of the growing for personal use being removed from the bill or referral? This seems like a key freedom that should be included. CO has it, but WA does not.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 11:58 JR in PDX
11:59
Erik Lukens: 
JR in PDX: The bill as introduced would allow the people to grow and possess teh same amount of pot as currently allowed under ...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 11:59 Erik Lukens
12:00
Erik Lukens: 
Oregon's medical marijuana program, 6 plants plus some ounces. Supporters say that the bill will likely be amended to reduce that amount - it really is a lot - but that people will still be able to grow their own ...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:00 Erik Lukens
12:00
Erik Lukens: 
It's hard for me to believe that that portion of the bill would disappear.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:00 Erik Lukens
12:00
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Why does HB3371 have no chance at becoming law? And why is it better for this to go to the voters? This is a representative democracy.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:00 Guest
12:00
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
I think referring a measure to voters is fine but what if it is defeated 51%-49%?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:00 Guest
12:01
Erik Lukens: 
Guest re. no chance: I think HB 3371 has no chance for a couple of reasons, the first being that Tina Kotek (as I recall) essentially said so. ...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:01 Erik Lukens
12:01
[Comment From PDX ManPDX Man: ] 
Legalization makes sense. How can cigarettes, alcohol, and high fructose corn syrup be allowed but not marijuana. You know more people die each year due to cigarettes, alcohol, and high fructose corn syrup than ever dies from pot. Make it legal. Tax it. Move on!
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:01 PDX Man
12:02
Erik Lukens: 
The other reason is that it would need 3/5 votes in both chambers because it raises taxes. That's a high hurdle. As for why it should go to voters, well, perhaps because it's been a ballot-box issue for years, from the creation of a medical marijuana program to last fall's defeat of Measure 80.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:02 Erik Lukens
12:02
[Comment From jimmyteejimmytee: ] 
The primary question we should ask ourselves when evaluating any policy is whether it works to keep society safe. Secondary factors include questions of economic efficiency, fairness to groups with historically less money or power, and whether we are allowing people to reach their full potential after rehabilitation.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:02 jimmytee
12:02
[Comment From jimmyteejimmytee: ] 
Ask yourself this simple question: Has it worked? As most of us can answer from experience: No. The war on drugs has never worked. Today, drugs are cheaper, more potent, and easier to get than they were in 1970 when the war on drugs began. On federal surveys, teenagers consistently report that it’s easier to buy marijuana than alcohol, which is legal and age-regulated. And beyond its failure, the war on drugs has had unintended but devastatingly violent consequences. As with alcohol prohibition, drugs are under the control of bloodthirsty cartels fighting over untaxed profits and killing police and innocent civilians in their crossfire.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:02 jimmytee
12:03
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Where does the O come down on national drug policy? Should the war on drugs continue – for everything? For everything but pot? Just for the hardest drugs like heroin? Should adults be allowed to choose hard drugs even at their own detriment?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:03 Guest
12:03
Erik Lukens: 
Guest. re federal drug policy: That's a pretty big question. I'll focus on marijuana. I think pot is probably more like alcohol than it is like heroin. I think we can have a discussion about ...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:03 Erik Lukens
12:04
Erik Lukens: 
legalizing pot without necessarily suggesting that all drugs should be legalized, no matter how damaging.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:04 Erik Lukens
12:04
[Comment From tomtom: ] 
If they turned HB3371 into a referral it currently has a $35 per ounce tax..Do you think the $35 per ounce tax is fair or to high or low?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:04 tom
12:04
[Comment From jimmyteejimmytee: ] 
Ask yourself this simple question: Has it worked? As most of us can answer from experience: No. The war on drugs has never worked. Today, drugs are cheaper, more potent, and easier to get than they were in 1970 when the war on drugs began. On federal surveys, teenagers consistently report that it’s easier to buy marijuana than alcohol, which is legal and age-regulated. And beyond its failure, the war on drugs has had unintended but devastatingly violent consequences. As with alcohol prohibition, drugs are under the control of bloodthirsty cartels fighting over untaxed profits and killing police and innocent civilians in their crossfire.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:04 jimmytee
12:04
Erik Lukens: 
Tom. re tax too high or low: I have no idea whether $35 is too high or low. Supporters say they're looking for a "sweet spot" that ...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:04 Erik Lukens
12:05
Erik Lukens: 
wiil generate lots of money without pushing people to the black market. It's a matter of pragmatism, I think.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:05 Erik Lukens
12:05
[Comment From tomtom: ] 
Should part of tax money go to promote pot?..Lotto, beer and wine currently do..
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:05 tom
12:06
Erik Lukens: 
Tom re. promoting pot: I think pot probably promotes itself just fine.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:06 Erik Lukens
12:06
[Comment From PDX ManPDX Man: ] 
Must have been a long time ago, but did alcohol and nicotine get legal status because “the people” voted for it, or did lawmakers just make it so. Cannot understand how alcohol and nicotine are legal, and marijuana is not. Make it legal. Tax it. Move on.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:06 PDX Man
12:06
[Comment From tomtom: ] 
Will the OEB do a new editorial and ask legislatures to send it to a vote?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:06 tom
12:06
Erik Lukens: 
tom re. new editorial: We wrote an editorial last week that said just that. It should go to a vote.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:06 Erik Lukens
12:07
[Comment From John SajoJohn Sajo: ] 
It is clear from the demographics that legalization is inevitable. The question now is working out the details to create a good law. But the details are very tricky. Why do you (OEB) believe that Legislators will do a better job than citizens writing an initiative?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:07 John Sajo
12:07
Erik Lukens: 
John Sajo re. why a better job: I don't think teh Legislature would have produced the disaster voters killed last fall.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:07 Erik Lukens
12:08
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Erik, do you believe the initiative system in Oregon should be curbed? Measure 80 failed because it was poorly thought out. The Portland Arts Tax passed because it was sneakily written. Shouldn’t there be some high level of professional standard met before an initiative makes it onto the ballot?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:08 Guest
12:08
[Comment From John SajoJohn Sajo: ] 
The question about how to tax marijuana is complicated. There are many different forms of marijuana with varying levels of potency and many products created from marijuana, Taxing by weight is probably not the best solution since it will encourage high potency products and discourage low potency products.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:08 John Sajo
12:09
[Comment From jimmyteejimmytee: ] 
LEAP envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 jimmytee
12:09
Erik Lukens: 
Guest re. initiative. Well, voters did kill Measure 80. And the arts tax was a referral from Portland City Council, not a product of the initiative system. I think the system works reasonably well. Also, I think ....
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 Erik Lukens
12:09
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Why so close to when voters said NO very clearly is everyone scrambling when for 40 years you can have an ounce and only get a speeding ticket?
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 Guest
12:09
Erik Lukens: 
people working on initiatives already have the option of working with the state.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 Erik Lukens
12:09
[Comment From BobBob: ] 
I think the talk about how much to tax it is premature! It has not passed yet and may not.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 Bob
12:09
[Comment From tomtom: ] 
So if it goes to voters the OEB will Not make a issue out of how high or low the tax is?..Now is time to speak up if you have concerns in my opinion..
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 tom
12:09
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
What part of NO does the legislature and others not get...there is a history of disregarding voters
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:09 Guest
12:10
Erik Lukens: 
tom. re tax: I don't know what we'll do if it goes to voters, but the level of the tax really isn't our primary focus. ...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:10 Erik Lukens
12:10
Erik Lukens: 
which is whether or not legalization under whatever scheme ended up on the ballot is good.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:10 Erik Lukens
12:10
[Comment From tomtom: ] 
How about a editorial that the headline says..""Lets Vote ON Pot"?...No beating around the bush..
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:10 tom
12:11
[Comment From BobBob: ] 
Maybe measure 80 failed because a lot of people do not want to make it legal!
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:11 Bob
12:11
Erik Lukens: 
tom. re editorial: I think anyone who read last week's editorial knows that's what we recommend.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:11 Erik Lukens
12:11
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
What part of "NO" does Mr. Sajo and othrs not. get? Voters said no just months ago.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:11 Guest
12:11
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
No country in the WORLD has legalized marijuana - decriminalized yes. The US would be in gross violation of several major international drug treaties if we "legalized" and the Feds control anyway
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:11 Guest
12:12
[Comment From BobBob: ] 
It is kind of like the sales tax issue, how many times do we need to say NO!
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:12 Bob
12:12
Erik Lukens: 
Guest re. treaties: I don't think the treaty argument is going to persuade state voters. Also, individual states can force teh federal government's ....
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:12 Erik Lukens
12:12
Erik Lukens: 
hand on drug policy by legalizing marijuana one by one.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:12 Erik Lukens
12:12
[Comment From jimmyteejimmytee: ] 
Initially, I found it hard to care much about the grassroots movement to legalize pot – the right to get high with impunity seemed like a very trivial concern given the other issues facing the nation. But when one sees how the 'war on drugs' generates far bigger consequences than mere buzz suppression – from racist incarceration outcomes, to prison lobbies writing our laws, to the mass disenfranchisement of the felons convicted of marijuana possession, whose conviction prevents them from being allowed to vote – then the move toward decriminalization by these two states seems urgently needed,
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:12 jimmytee
12:12
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
We already had that vote...
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:12 Guest
12:12
[Comment From John SajoJohn Sajo: ] 
I agree that the Legislative process including public hearings and multiple opportunities to amend can fine tune legislation in a way initiative drafters cannot. But if the Legislature doesn't pass a good bill, I guarantee marijuana activists will put the issue back on the ballot in 2016 and possibly 2014.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:12 John Sajo
12:13
Erik Lukens: 
John Sajo re. supporters will act on their own: You are absolutely right, I think.
Wednesday April 10, 2013 12:13 Erik Lukens
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