Oregon State Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), co-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has today become the highest-level state elected official to endorse Measure 80, the marijuana legalization initiative.
In a statement, Buckley wrote:
It makes absolutely no sense to me that we continue to waste millions of dollars every year to prohibit adults from making the choice of whether to consume marijuana, especially when we could be regulating and taxing that market and funding the programs we've been cutting session after session. Oregon is a pioneer state, and I for one want us to make history this November by ending prohibition and regulating marijuana just like we regulate liquor.
Buckley has a bit of a history with the marijuana legalization movement. In 2010, WW reported, Buckley pledged that he would be willing to introduce legislation to the Oregon House that would provide a blueprint for legalizing and taxing marijuana.
However, after the failure of the Proposition 19 legalization ballot in California and the Measure 74 marijuana dispensary ballot in Oregon, Buckley changed his mind about introducing the legislation.
Other prominent politicians endorsing Measure 80 are outgoing city commissioner Randy Leonard and mayoral candidate Charlie Hales.
According to Secretary of State records, Sheriffs of Oregon, an organization representing Oregon's 36 sheriffs, is opposed to the measure. The group hasn't yet reported spending money to oppose it.