Oregon's pot bill is the least restrictive

I just read that while Colorado and Washington are expected to pass marijuana legalization laws, Oregon's similar measure is trailing by a lot. What's the reason for that? Is Oregon that much more conservative or is there a bunch of money being spent against it?

— Scott R., Phoenix

Scott, please allow us to correct a couple of your assumptions. The most recent polls we've seen show both the Colorado and Washington measures leading, but both with less than 50 percent support and trending in the wrong direction for legalization supporters. So "leading in the polls" might be more accurate than "expected to pass."

You are right, however, that Oregon's Measure 80 is not doing well in the polls leading up to the final tally on Nov. 6. The most recent poll we found had it trailing 43 to 36 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

People who study these things suggest the difference between Oregon voters and those in the other states on this issue has less to do with Oregonians being more conservative and more to do with how the measures are written.

Oregon's is definitely the least restrictive of the three. It would have no limits on personal possession and no limits on the number of plants that individuals could grow. It also sets up an oversight board that would be composed primarily of marijuana growers and distributors.

Washington's measure, which was leading 48 to 44 percent in the latest polls, limits possession to 1 ounce and does not allow people to grow their own. Colorado's measure would allow possession of up to 1 ounce and six growing plants. Colorado's measure was leading 48 to 43 percent in a recent poll.

All three measures would authorize sales at state-licensed stores, although in Washington that would be the only option for purchasing pot.

While the Washington measure has drawn support from a number of law enforcement officials, Oregon's is opposed by the organizations representing sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys.

According to the Oregon secretary of state's website that tracks political donations, there is no major fundraising effort opposing it. Proponents of the measure had raised more than $356,000 in support of Measure 80 as of the last filing report.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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