Committee That Successfully Blocked Increased Penalties for Marijuana in 1998 Will Fight Hefty Fine; Promotes New Initiative to Allow Personal Use by Adults
Press Release From Citizens For Sensible Law Enforcement
Adults caught with even small amounts of marijuana face new, steep fines of up to $5,000 under a bill introduced Friday in Oregon’s abbreviated legislative session. HB 4167 would raise the maximum fine for simple possession of under one ounce from $1,000 to $5,000 for a single offense.
The policy is misguided, say backers of Initiative Petition 24, a Citizens’ Initiative that would eliminate criminal penalties for the personal use of marijuana by adults.
“Oregonians know that it’s a waste of time and scarce resources to investigate and punish adults for personal marijuana use,” says IP-24 Chief Petitioner Robert Wolfe. “We want our tax dollars spent fighting real crime that hurts real people. It’s the same message voters sent the Legislature in 1998, the last time lawmakers tried to ‘get tough’ on marijuana.”
Supporters of IP-24 have gathered 25,000 signatures, including 10,000 from the past two weeks alone. IP-24 is sponsored by Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, which defeated past attempts to enhance marijuana penalties and aided in the passage of the Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act in 1998.
“Back in 1998 voters in every single Oregon county rejected that legislative effort to increase penalties for marijuana use. Now, 14 years later, here they come again. With our measure, Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement seeks to put an end to this wasteful policy of prohibition once and for all.” said Wolfe “Just as we did in 1998, we will be glad to ask voters to weigh in on whether or not law enforcement should continue to focus time and attention on punishing Oregon adults for their personal choices. We believe they will agree it’s time to end prohibition.”
IP-24 is a brief constitutional amendment that permits adults 21 and over to possess and produce marijuana for personal use. It does not allow driving under the influence or any other activity that endangers children or public safety. It does not require employers to accommodate or employ people who use marijuana. The measure would permit the legislature to further regulate marijuana, and delays implementation for six months to allow them to do so.
IP-24 sponsors need about 117,000 valid signatures on petitions by mid-July, and are on track to get 185,000 signatures to ensure they exceed that requirement. For more information on the campaign, please visit www.endprohibitionagain.com
Original Release can be found at http://www.ompicampaign2012.org/announcements/oregon-legislature-moves-to-increase-marijuana-fines-to-5000. For information on how to donate or volunteer, visit them online at http://www.endprohibitionagain.com/.
Here’s the proposed bill: