Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Potential Puffer Posts Portland Pot Petition

[In another life perhaps I was a headline writer for Variety (or perhaps not)...]

Dipping into the Portland City Public Notice well for news again, I see that the blooming of spring flowers cannot be far behind--for the "make pot legal" petition has budded anew. It really belies the stereotype of unfocused slackers with no engagement...although I guess only unfocused slackers (and unfocused lawyers) have the time to write initiatives and petitions.

I kid, but it's actually a very serious, fairly well written presentation of an entirely valid idea. In fact, it's a much better argument for placing simple possession on the "lowest enforcement priority" than the grandfather of such petitions, passed in Berkeley in 1979 and itself poorly enforced ever since. Most recently, Denver passed a similar bill to this one, and this attempt surely hopes to replicate that success.

The petitioner, Southeast resident Chris Iverson, does a nice job jumping through the severability, enactment and enforcement hoops for a legally effective petition--although he skipped a "Section 7" entirely between 6 and 8. He addresses community oversight, the extent to which exemptions to loose prosecution apply (such as for minors), and what constitutes "lowest priority." But he gets right up to the pulpit and testifies in the statement of purpose:
WHEREAS decades of arresting and jailing tens millions of marijuana users have
failed to end marijuana use, the City of Portland should take a new approach;
WHEREAS each year it is estimated that Oregon spends over $60 million and
thousands of law enforcement hours enforcing marijuana laws;
WHEREAS Oregon's law enforcement resources would be better spent preventing
and investigating serious crimes like murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, and
driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs; and
WHEREAS current marijuana policies continue to needlessly harm medical
marijuana patients by restricting their access to their medicine;
WHEREAS it is the intent of the voters of the City of Portland that any economic
analysis or fiscal impact statements conducted by City of Portland officials should
include the savings associated with reduced costs on law enforcement,
prosecution, and punishment as a result of this ordinance's implementation;
THEREFORE the people of Portland do hereby enact the following ordinance to
be added to the Portland City Code, establishing the marijuana policy of the City.
Not Jeffersonian perhaps (although Thomas grew cannabis if I'm not mistaken), but direct and clear. Shout it from the mountaintop, Chris!

Now the hard part: rallying the stoners to collect 26,000 signatures by July. And hey, if Denver can do it--we've got better beer AND grass than those losers! (Or at least it comes from BC cheaper and easier).

Seriously: I would fully support the initiative, and since Carla's even more antiauthoritarian than me, I'm gonna guess she would too.