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No On 91 Campaign Makes The Case FOR Legalization

no on 91 oregon marijuana legalization

(image via No on 91 Facebook page)

On Friday, Mandi Puckett, the head of the No on Measure 91 campaign trying to defeat legalization in Oregon, held a press conference Friday that was chock full of concerned moms and precocious kids.  More telling was the presence of law enforcement and drug treatment professionals joining in to protect the drug war grants and easy forced rehab clients they get from prohibition.

As I watched the live stream of their press conference, however, I was shocked by how often these anti-pot crusaders made the case FOR legalizing marijuana under Measure 91.  For instance:

There’s no such thing as “medical” marijuana!

Julie Russell, a marriage and family counselor, told the media that “The advocates of this Measure 91 want you to believe that marijuana has medicinal value, which couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”  It may not be shocking to hear that in Idaho or Oklahoma or Mississippi, but Oregon has had medical marijuana since 1998.  We just topped 69,000 registered patients.  Our legislature has voted to expand medical marijuana twice.  Our state government even swiped medical marijuana program money to balance other state budgets.

But if you really believe there’s no medical in marijuana, that people are just faking it to get high, then doesn’t that argue for legalization to end the charade?

Kids can easily get marijuana now!

Connie Ramaekers, a thirty-year career drug prevention counselor, described the current state of prohibition and its effect on kids.  “The kids are telling me, they say, within five minutes they can get marijuana!  It’s much easier than tobacco or alcohol to get into their hands!”

Why do you suppose that is, Connie?  Because drug dealers don’t check ID!

We just can’t afford to legalize marijuana!

Project SAM’s Dr. Kimber Richter, flown in from the East Coast and put up in Portland for the weekend, joined the press conference to predict that legalization of marijuana would cost us far more than it brings in from tax revenue.  “We won’t even be able to project what the public health harms will be, and the costs that we’re seeing now — the $1 in tax revenue for the $10 in social costs — who knows where that’s going to be with marijuana?”

That’s the classic Sabet Conjecture — Kevin Sabet’s idea that since alcohol and tobacco cost us ten times what they make in taxes, so too would it be with far safer, non-toxic, less addictive marijuana.  Somebody in the media needs to ask Sabet and Richter and anyone else floating this ludicrous claim to quantify the $450 million in social costs Colorado’s experienced, since they’ve raised $45 million to date in tax revenue.

There’s not enough drug treatment in Oregon!

Serenity Lane professional rehab Dr. Ronald Schwerzler warns the media that “There’s no adolescent [drug]treatment, by the way, in the state of Oregon.  You cannot get your adolescent treated.  You almost have to wait until they’re 18.  By then, the damage has been done.”

Well, then it is a good thing that Measure 91 devotes 25% of its tax revenue to drug prevention, treatment, and mental health programs, huh?

There will be mass advertising for marijuana to our kids!

The most audacious claim comes from professional rehab specialist Mandi Puckett, the head of the No on 91 campaign.  “Again, the biggest concern that we as moms have is how this is going to affect kids.  With mass commercialization, advertising, promoting, normalizing marijuana use. That’s what comes along with Measure 91.”

Perhaps Mandi Puckett didn’t read Section 7 of Measure 91, which states, in part:  “Powers and duties of Oregon Liquor Control Commission.  (1) The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has the powers and duties… (2) includ[ing]the following (g) To regulate and prohibit any advertising by manufacturers, processors, wholesalers or retailers of marijuana items by the medium of newspapers, letters, billboards, radio or otherwise.”

No on 91 wants to pretend it is a coalition of concerned parents and teachers but a quick look at the Oregon campaign finance database finds that No on 91 gets 98.6% of its funds from the Oregon State Sheriffs Association and the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association.  This press conference was just another attempt to try to scare people about legalization – a scare that has lost a lot of its power now that we know the two top-selling marijuana shops in Washington State are just across the river from Portland in Vancouver, Washington.


About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


  1. This could not be a better year for Oregon to step in legalization. The industry may be young, but full of opportunities – for innovation, creativity, and put a stake in the ground as one of the first states to Brave New territory.

  2. Hello. Cannabis shouldn’t be treated like alcohol, it should be treated
    like parsley, another herb (though it is much more useful in so many

    Having said that, please VOTE YES, because:

    1. The more legal it becomes, the easier it will be to get to the next stage.

    All eyes are on Oregon. A Yes vote will help the rest of the country
    to move in the right direction. A No vote could seriously gum up the

    3. Don’t deprive us of real medicine. Everyone needs
    cannabis for one reason or another – to heal pain, depression, obesity,
    thyroid problems, nerve damage, osteoarthritis, autism, heart disease,
    or hundreds of other serious illnesses that I could list here. We
    shouldn’t have to risk our all just to treat something that’s not on the
    tiny list for “medical marijuana”.

    4. Yes would mean people
    could grow HEMP, which is extremely useful for clothing, housing
    (hempcrete), rope, oil, fuel, shampoo, fiberboard, paints, varnishes,
    lubricants, cellophane, plastics, sealants, paper… Yes could mean
    whole new industries, CLEAN industries that would HELP the earth by
    soaking up carbon, and create JOBS.

    5. And let’s not forget that
    hemp seed is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. If the
    cannabis plant were plentiful, it would grow on poor soil where other
    crops couldn’t grow, and give stability, preventing mudslides and
    stopping the nutrients from blowing away, and then it could feed both
    people and animals once it was harvested.

    I have hardly scratched the surface with the many uses of this plant. Make it more available by voting YES.

  3. stellarvoyager on

    My wife just got one of their flyers in the mail today. Packed full of lies and distortions, but what else do we expect from the prohib side? I can’t believe they sent one to my wife! Well, they sent their propaganda to the wrong household, because I’ll likely respond with a donation to the yes on 91 campaign.

  4. Proof they are idiots. They could have had their own distinctive look that distanced themselves from the “yes” people, but no – they choose to look just like their opposition, which at a sideways glance with no conscious recognition, looks like “yes” to the subliminal mind. Idiots.

  5. I agree. But I’m pretty sure that drinking in public is illegal too, it’s just that no one feels compelled to arrest and prosecute tailgate party goers, and that is telling in itself. Security will call in police to arrest pot smokers, but ignore the drunks? Yup.

  6. Russ, This is Mary Miller from Ceresmary on Facebook. I wanted to let you know that Opposition to 91 contains so real whoppers that needs to be read live to folks over the air:


    No on 91 (don’t vote this way, I am just sharing the nasty card that it my mail box):

    “Why experiment on Oregon’s Kids with these MARIJUANA junk food?”

    Picture of medibles, and most do NOT exist, btw.

    I guess they didNOT have valid reasons to object for medical Cannabis, so they MADE THIS SHIT UP:


    (nope, you have to be 21 to enter a dispensary folks, no one is GIVING this to kids any more than stores are selling BEER OR WINE to kids (Alcopops by the way, are just as ‘appealing’ to the young as the medible problem).

    YOU USE OF MARIJUANA INCREASES where it is available (nope in both Washington and Colorado, the use is down). I’ll find the posts on that later.

    TOO MUCH MARIJUANA: that’s a total crap.

    TOO STRONG MARIJUANA: just goes to show they know *nothing* about cannabis strains and saying it is 300-800% (by the way these numbers don’t mean crap…..) stronger…no quote not idea where they are getting these numbers.

    No Standard for Driving Stoned: limits will exist, that’s again just scare tactics!

    IT FEEDS THE BLACK MARKET: oh yea right! It does just the opposite this is what Washington and Colorado have found.

    MONEY LOSER: (I cannot believe they said this with a straight face)…there’s more:

    POISON CONTROL NUMBERS ARE CRAZY (they give are just stupid, because children from age 0 (really???) to 5 years old 268% calls. For one, if a child can’t get access, (and if they can’t chew) this is just idiocy.

    Worse still: this statistic without any back up (btw no back up on any of these statistics altogether)…..”Out of about 14,600 people in Oregon prisons less than 100 are there for marijuana!! (bet me buckwheat, we see the arrests on tv regularly). It’s crazy.

    AND for the record, I am in the same boat as one of your other commenters here; I ended up with serotonin syndrome because of opioid over use, that almost killed me, and we still haven’t mentioned it no longer allows me to take: SSRIs, SNRIs, Sleep medication of any kind, Anti nausea medications, muscle relaxers (Baclofen and Flexeril both contain pre-gaba receptors and will kill me). It’s medicine, don’t believe me, believe the number of kids who use Cannabis to avoid having hourly seizures, like Charlotte Figi, and she is not alone. Last month we lost a 12 year old in NY area, because of the lack of availability to get Charlotte’s Web, which is HIGH in CBD and literally almost NO THC. And in August a mother in Minnesota was ARRESTED for getting charlotte’s web and giving it to her son. She made the ‘silly’ mistake of mentioning this to her friend, who had her arrested and her son with a TBI sent to child protective services….don’t get me started….So the more people want to ‘balk about voting’ Which is what they are hoping for, chances are many of us will be arrested for needing the only medication left available to treat us, including those folks i mentioned with Dravet’s Syndrome.

  7. Your assumption that seniors will overwhelmingly vote against the measure isn’t valid, merely your assumption and a misguided one at that.
    FYI, the bulk of today’s seniors are from the Woodstock generation, and you may recall from reading or watching film documentaries about that “little” gathering. Finding some weed at that event would have been about as challenging as taking a deep breath.
    The mindset difference between today’s seniors and those in the younger age ranges with regard to weed usage is discretion. There’s no inclination to showboat it; all that display usually accomplishes is a further alienation and stereotyping of those who gain a legitimate medical benefit from using it.

  8. Julie Russell: fyi. Cannabis IS MEDICINE! I suffered from opioid/benzo toxicity from big Pharma poisons for my 5-time cardiovascular surgeries post-op PAIN control.
    Cannabis&hemp do a better job at controlling/attenuating that pain w/o the TOXIC effects of your much-beloved big Pharma “medicines”.
    Put that in your pipe and smoke it,”lady”!

  9. Stellar: thank you for your hard work and efforts. People like me that live in captive states like Louisiana are pulling for you!

  10. Yeah, but it has to be a process, we have to get the camel’s nose in the tent first. You can’t have the whole cake at once, people aren’t ready for that. Gradual steps to legalize is the way to go.

  11. As much as I want to see pot legalized ASAP, laws that “legalize” marijuana (including Measure 91) are full of crap ! It won’t be fully LEGAL until the law treats it just like alcohol. Under current legalization “laws”, smokers have to hide in their homes while they smoke. Smoking pot in public places is OUTLAWED by 91 !!! Meanwhile, at tailgate parties before football games, people can get a plastered as they want. They can drink bottles of wine at restaurants, do shots of tequila until they puke (or get into fights) at night clubs, and slam down 6-packs of beer at concerts. Meanwhile, mellow pot smokers must continue HIDING in private while they toke. This is hypocritical BULL CRAP ! Separate but equal is NOT EQUAL ! Pot smokers must demand EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW !

  12. The “no medicinal value” thing was most unsettling for me, but yes on 91 people, and all anti-prohibitionist should learn to love people who think like this, because they are the first domino to fall in the prohibitionist arsenal, and research is making their claims so much more lame that as time goes on no one will believe anything they all say.

    I’d venture to say that they are all as fragmented as the people on the legalization side, and some of them even believe in the medicinal value, but would never speak out against their allies. We should see a lesson in that. We all must stick together for a common goal to free cannabis once and for all.

  13. stellarvoyager on

    I have already turned my ballot in with a yes on 91, and I plan to work the phone banks calling supporters and reminding them to mail in their ballots! We can do this!

  14. stellarvoyager on

    He has an “honorary” degree from the University of Florida. That means he never took any actual courses to EARN his degree. They just gave it to him because politics.

  15. Julie Russell, a marriage and family counselor, told the media that “The
    advocates of this Measure 91 want you to believe that marijuana has
    medicinal value, which couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”

    This, in my mind, is the most profoundly ignorant statement among the many, many others being brought forward by the anti-cannabis crowd. What has turned the tide of public opinion, in the last 18 years, in favor of legalization is the increasingly wider use of cannabis as medicine since the first medical laws were put in place in 1996. That, more than anything, has exposed the slanderous lies against cannabis. The first hand experience of people benefiting from the healing and palliative gifts of cannabis, and being witnessed by the many others who know them, has opened their eyes to the truth that the scaremongering lies against cannabis have concealed from them.

    One can cite the many thousands of scientific papers on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system that either directly or indirectly lends credence to the truth about cannabis: that it is the quintessential medicine and can offer healing and relief from life destroying conditions and illnesses.

    Of course, the FDA and NIDA will say that “proper” randomized clinical trials have not been performed to determine its safety and efficacy. Such a stance is disingenuous to say the least, since those agencies act as gatekeepers preventing most researchers from doing such studies.

    The safety of cannabis has been demonstrated by millennia of use by countless numbers of people since the dawn of agriculture. The efficacy is now being revealed in astonishingly new ways (bordering on the “miraculous”) by the advent of concentrated cannabis oils with high levels of CBD and THC that far surpasses the old tinctures and extracts that were once used more than a hundred years ago.

    A singularly compelling example of this is Cyndimae, a 12 year old girl who suffered from Darvets syndrome since she was 10 months old, experiencing thousands of seizures that stole her childhood from her and prevented her from developing normally.

    Unlike other children with Dravets, who have been helped immensely by high CBD oil, Cyndimae didn’t respond well until they found a combination of three different strains of cannabis, Lemon Skunk, Mob Boss, and Blue Laser, and the THCA, CBDA, and THC that they contained. Once she received that oil her response was virtuously miraculous. Yes, the much feared and maligned THC molecule, that the government uses as justification for placing the cannabis plant on schedule I, along side heroine; is the very thing– the only substance on the planet–that did this for Cindimae (watch the video here) http://www.examiner(dot)com/article/watch-cannabis-knock-out-this-child-s-seizure-seconds

    Cannabis gives Cyndimae, and many other children, their lives back; something that all the high priced (with an array of negative side effects) drugs of Big Pharma and the wonders of high tech medical technology could not do.

    Cannabis is not a drug; it is a plant, the herb of herbs–the holy (wholeness), healing, herb.

  16. Do you know who the SENIORS are????,They are the 60`s and 70`s Hippies & Freaks, Every person I know that is my age and older ALL Smoke or take Edibles, I would guess that I have been into Cannabis longer than you are old.

  17. No, they can’t. In fact, Kevin Sabet steals at least three of my lines when he delivers his “education”. “Not Your Father’s Woodstock Weed?” That’s mine, something I used once in a debate with him to mock that concept.

  18. Yes midterm election turnout is dismal and i’m glad that courts are declaring Voter ID Laws unconstitutional thus thwarting this republican scheme.

  19. “Smart Approach to Marijuana” ????????????????????????
    SAM chairman, Patrick Kennedy is the younger son of the longtime Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy… his granddad, who he is named after,(Joseph Patrick “Joe” Kennedy, Sr.) made his fortune in the booze industry… “After Prohibition ended in 1933, “Joe” Kennedy consolidated an even larger fortune when he traveled to Scotland with FDR’s son, James Roosevelt, to buy distribution rights for Scotch whisky. His company, Somerset Importers, became the exclusive American agent for Gordon’s Gin and Dewar’s Scotch. In addition, Kennedy purchased spirits-importation rights from Schenley Industries, a firm in Canada.”…

    Notice the connections to the ALCOHOL industry… oh yes, just coincidence!

  20. But we must get registered voters to ACTUALLY VOTE! Tell your neighbors, tell your friends, tell your family to actually fill out your ballot and turn it in! Voter turnout in a mid-term election is traditionally low for that all-important group of people that we need to turn out, the young vote 18-34.

    Please devote attention to telling people to actually vote. We do not have this in the bag, we could actually lose if nobody turns out. You know that the seniors will be turning out, and they could sink Measure 91, so TURN IN your ballots!

  21. Yes on 91 also empowers the entire industry to get behind environmentally sustainable practices, including green energy & water recycling that can protect our wildlife including salmon, something that illegal grow operations just don’t care about.

  22. America does not have a marijuana problem because we can buy it in any town in America. Our government forces most of us to buy it from criminals.

    PS: Persecuting the 91% of the population that won’t form a dependency because 9% MAY form a dependency for marijuana just doesn’t make sense.

  23. stellarvoyager on

    Geez, can’t the no on 91 people at least make up their own logo instead of just copying the yes on 91’s logo? I mean, I knew prohibitionists aren’t known for their creativity and innovation, but this is pretty pathetic.

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