View Full Version : Editorial: Measures are a step backward for Oregon Emerald editorial board

11-04-2010, 03:03 AM
Editorial: Measures are a step backward for Oregon
Emerald editorial board

Published: Thursday, November 4, 2010
Updated: Thursday, November 4, 2010 01:11

The failure of Measure 74 and the passage of Measure 73 were questionable decisions to say the least. Oregon will be greatly impacted by these choices, and while they do have understandable points, the potential damages are much more dangerous than the upsides.

Declining Measure 74 means that we will not increase the distribution of medical marijuana for citizens who need it. This failed, most likely, on the account of the stigma that follows marijuana. We are so afraid of it, that we disregard its inarguable medical value.

We allow drugs like Xanax, oxycodone and morphine to cause dependence, pain and death, but shun a drug that has the same pain-relieving effects as many of the more dangerous legal drugs.

Seven million people abuse medically prescribed drugs and 100,000 Americans die each year from them - but have you ever heard of anyone dying from a marijuana overdose?
Because marijuana is much safer than most of our prescription painkillers, and non-addictive, we should have made it as available as possible to ailing citizens.

This bill wasn't legalizing it for recreational use for young adults, it was improving its availability to sickened Oregonians who don't want to become dependent on life-threatening pills.
The passing of Measure 73 forces mandatory minimum prison sentencings of 90 days for people charged with three DUIs and 25 years for two-time sexual offenders.

While it is understandable and more than respectable to want to crackdown on criminals who have repeated mistakes, putting a person who drinks and drives a lot into a prison will not rehabilitate them, nor will it fight their alcoholism. The most effective way to do that is to increase the power of court supervised intervention and to create more effective rehab programs to teach them to behave responsibly.

If someone is a repeat rapist, or if someone is a pedophile, they should be served a heavy sentence.

But the establishment of a minimum prison sentence, which is expensive and may not always be the best measure of punishment, makes for many potential issues.

Measure 73 prevents judges in Oregon from doing their job. They cannot exert their ability to judge if they are forced to serve such a drastic minimum and are incapable of interpreting the situation to do what they see fit under certain circumstances.

Even if the cause is reasonable, the means are unattainable through our budget. Measure 73 is estimated to cost between $18 and $30 million a year, and with no real explanation of where the money will come from, it is assumed that this will take from the general fund which would usually aid other amenities.

Schooling, health care and public safety will all potentially receive less funds because of Measure 73.

Prison was already an overbearing expenditure on our budget, but now, it appears to be capable of growing faster than ever.
The state of Oregon must be weary of the aftermath of these decisions. Because of them, people with medical marijuana needs will continue to have difficulty acquiring it, and the budget will be forced to take more cuts from an already crippled economy to provide money for the changes in Measure 73.

These changes will impact our society and are very likely to cause many disruptions in our political and economic flow.