MJ Groups Hope Ore. Race Will Have Chilling Effect

May 17, 2012

Med­ical mar­i­juana advo­cates have a mes­sage for Demo­c­ra­tic lead­ers and fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors with an eye on polit­i­cal office: Don’t mess with pot. Push­ing back against a fed­eral effort to stem the pro­lif­er­a­tion of med­ical mar­i­juana oper­a­tions, one of the nation’s largest drug pol­icy groups claimed credit Wednes­day for the defeat of a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor who was the early favorite to win the Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary for Ore­gon attor­ney gen­eral. As interim U.S. attor­ney, Dwight Holton called Oregon’s med­ical mar­i­juana law a “train wreck” and over­saw efforts to crack down on med­ical mar­i­juana clubs and grow oper­a­tions that he said were fronts for ille­gal mar­i­juana sales. Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors have led sim­i­lar crack­downs in other states that have legal­ized mar­i­juana for med­i­c­i­nal use. “Drug war rhetoric and tac­tics will not be tol­er­ated,” said Jill Har­ris, man­ag­ing direc­tor for the cam­paign arm of Drug Pol­icy Alliance. Retired state appeals court judge Ellen Rosen­blum said she’d make mar­i­juana enforce­ment a low pri­or­ity. She eas­ily defeated Holton with the help of Har­ris’ group and its allies, which chipped in at least a quar­ter of Rosenblum’s total cam­paign cash. “What we’re hop­ing, and what we assume, is that any U.S. attor­ney who’s think­ing of run­ning for statewide office in a Demo­c­ra­tic Pri­mary any­where in the coun­try is going to think twice now before adopt­ing a highly aggres­sive pos­ture toward the med­ical mar­i­juana law,” said Ethan Nadel­mann, exec­u­tive direc­tor Drug Pol­icy Alliance and its cam­paign branch, Drug Pol­icy Action. Rosen­blum down­played the role of the mar­i­juana vote in her vic­tory in a brief inter­view fol­low­ing her vic­tory Tues­day night. With most votes counted, she defeated Holton 64 per­cent to 36 per­cent. “There’s lots of issues that played into my vic­tory, and that may well be one of them,” Rosen­blum said of the sur­pris­ing emer­gence of med­ical mar­i­juana as a defin­ing issue. About 55,000 peo­ple are reg­is­tered mar­i­juana users in Ore­gon. Six­teen states allow peo­ple with a doctor’s rec­om­men­da­tion to use mar­i­juana, an issue that has long been a source of ten­sion with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Fed­eral offi­cials have said some state med­ical mar­i­juana laws are being used as cover to grow and sell pot for the black mar­ket. Law enforce­ment agen­cies have cracked down on some pot grow­ers, dis­pen­saries and clubs in sev­eral states, includ­ing Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado and Ore­gon. Cam­paign finance records show Rosen­blum raised $600,000 through May 9, includ­ing $80,000 from Drug Pol­icy Action and $70,000 from John Sper­ling, Chair­man of Apollo Group Inc., who has financed med­ical mar­i­juana cam­paigns nation­ally. Ore­gon has no caps on cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions. Cit­i­zens for Sen­si­ble Law Enforce­ment, a local orga­ni­za­tion work­ing on a bal­lot mea­sure to legal­ize mar­i­juana, spent another $40,000 to boost Rosen­blum, much of it on radio ads attack­ing Holton over mar­i­juana. “We’re glad to have played a role in her vic­tory,” said Bob Wolfe, one of the organization’s direc­tors. “But I do think Dwight’s defeat is directly related to his stance on mar­i­juana.” Holton declined to com­ment. The Depart­ment of Jus­tice did not imme­di­ately respond to a request for com­ment. Source: Asso­ci­ated Press (Wire) Pub­lished: May 17, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 The Asso­ci­ated Press

9bb5cd4993ration.jpg 150x84 MJ Groups Hope Ore. Race Will Have Chilling Effect

See the orig­i­nal post here:
MJ Groups Hope Ore. Race Will Have Chill­ing Effect

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