Just last November, a marijuana dispensary measure failed on the ballot in Oregon. Now, there is a push to legalize pot across the board.
The creator of this new initiative believes marijuana should be taxed in the same way as liquor and cigarettes. He and his supporters claim it would benefit the state to the tune of millions of dollars. The question is: could it pass?
Phillip Allen, a family nurse practitioner told reporters from Oregon’s ABC affiliate KEZI, “I think that it’s time for the nation to take the demonization out of marijuana.”
And student Eliza Williams added, “It really does relieve a lot of pain and it can really help a lot of people.”
In the words of the person behind the initiative, Paul Stanford, executive director of the Hemp & Cannabis Foundation, “Alcohol revenue brings in about 75 million dollars. It will create lots of new jobs, and create all these new industries. We think it’ll create billions and billions of dollars in the long run.”
Proponents of the pot initiative also argue that marijuana is much less dangerous than either cigarettes or alcohol.
Medical marijuana user Marcia Williams told reporters, “Right now alcohol and tobacco are legal and they’ve killed hundreds and thousands of people.”
Phillip Allen supports the initiative even though it could potentially put a lot of medical marijuana practitioners – himself included – out of jobs. “We’re talking about thousands and thousands of people who stand to benefit from the law change,” he says.
Still, support for this initiative is hardly unanimous.
Thamer Alsulaiman told reporters that, “It’s really bad because I feel like people will get addicted to it. It’s like cigarettes.”
And Wayne Turner shared his opinion that, “Typically people that are smoking marijuana become more apathetic and they lose their desire to get out, work and accomplish things.”
Nevertheless, in Portland, where the Hemp & Cannabis Foundation has its headquarters, Stanford’s initiative is gaining support, but he needs 90 thousand more signatures for his initiative to appear on the ballot, and that might mean convincing a more conservative population.