“I don’t use marijuana,” says Margie Harris in the first add
for New Approach Oregon’s ballot initiative, “but as a teacher of 36 years I
can tell you other people use it.”
Harris, an 80-year-old retired teacher, is perhaps an
unlikely spokesperson for New Approach’s campaign to legalize cannabis in
Oregon, but she is someone the campaign hopes will bring a broader base to
While the state works to validate the 145,000 signatures
turned in last month, New Approach is confidently moving forward. The add,
currently appearing online, comes as the campaign shifts focus from gaining
signatures to winning public opinion ahead of November’s election.
The add highlights two aspects of their initiative that New Approach
has focused on heavily: regulation and taxation. Harris points out how easily she
has seen children get a hold of cannabis during her time as a teacher, and that
she believes New Approach’s ballot initiative will help prevent this and also provide
Similar to Washington, New Approach’s bill would place
regulatory powers in the hands of the state’s liquor control agency, the OLCC.
Speaking on KGW’s Straight Talk, chief petitioner Anthony Johnson points out
that putting the power in state hands will set this measure apart from past legalization
“The details really matter,” Johnson told host Laurel
Porter, referring to the regulation measures detailed in New Approaches 36-page
Johnson is marketing his campaign as a similar approach to
successful bill passed last year: “We took the best from Washington and
Colorado and crafted something that’s tailored for Oregonians,” he told Porter.
In fact Johnson has close ties to the Drug Policy Alliance, which
was integral in passing both the Colorado and Washington state measures.
The campaign has gained significant momentum in the past
months after a court decided it would have to re-start its signature campaign.
In that time it has outpaced two other measures, hired several high-profile
policy experts and gained a key endorsement for the ACLU.
If the signatures are valid, Oregonians will be able to vote
on the measure later this year.
Watch the commercial here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_mP22N_qyI