Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Turned Down by Oregon Voters

Oregon marijuana proponents took a hit on Tuesday with state and Jackson County voters rejecting Measure 74, which would have established a medical marijuana supply system and allowed the state to tax limited sales of marijuana.

Oregon Measure 74 advocates were unable to get the support needed statewide to carry the measure. The only Oregon county that passed the measure was Multnomah country with 58 percent support. A little over 43 percent of Oregon voters said yes compared to 56 percent who voted no. In Jackson County, the measure lost by around 62 percent to 38 percent or 32,039 yes votes to 19,300 no votes.

The measure was opposed by law enforcement officials and many candidates running for state offices who worried the measure would further complicate an already confusing medical marijuana system. Proponents said the measure would allow limited sales by licensed growers and non-profit dispensaries. The measure was expected to generate $20 million in revenues for the state in the first year.

Anthony Johnson, co-author of Measure 74, told the Portland Tribune that the tea party climate of this year’s election was a factor in their defeat. “In a political climate like that it’s tough for a marijuana reform measure,” Johnson said.

Alex Rogers of Ashland Alternative Health told the Ashland Daily Tidings, “It didn’t have to fail. The progressive liberal forces could have organized, like the Tea Party and we’d have stomped them into the ground. But the rampant apathy is because of our economy. It’s in such great peril. It’s so hard for anyone to think outside their individual lives.”

On a positive note, Johnson said the campaign increased public awareness of medical marijuana, but that more had to be done next time. “This is a measure that takes time to explain to the public,” Johnson said.

As for now, Oregon’s Medical Marijuana law will remain unchanged. The current program allows medical marijuana cardholders and their caretakers to grow and possess a small quantity of marijuana. Currently there are 36,673 medical marijuana cardholders and in Jackson County the number of cardholders are 4,526.

In California, Proposition 19 which would have legalized possession of Marijuana through regulation and taxation was also defeated by voters.

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