Pro-Medical Pot Candidate Defeats Dispensary-Buster in Dem Primary for Oregon AG
Tuesday night, former judge and pro-medical-marijuana candidate Ellen Rosenblum defeated dispensary-busting, former Interim U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s Attorney General. The state’s medical marijuana laws were a central issue in the race, and many predict that Rosenblum’s victory will have a national impact on U.S. prosecutors with the power to attack, or leave alone, medical pot programs.
Rosenblum said she would make enforcing federal medical marijuana laws a "low priority," and would instead "protect the rights of medical marijuana patients." Holton, however, oversaw raids on Oregon marijuana farms while an interum U.S. Attorney in 2010-2011, and has called Oregon’s medical marijuana program a “train wreck." Because Rosenblum does not yet have a Republican contendor, she will likely be Oregon's next Attorney General.
Medical marijuana also played a crucial role in Rosenblum's campaign financing. Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, donated $100,000 towards the Rosenblum campaign. John Sperling, a marijuana activist and leader of the for-profit education movement, also donated $100,000 to help elect Rosenblum.
Jill Harris, Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives for Drug Policy Action, and a native of Eugene, OR, issued the following statement:
“Dwight Holton’s defeat in the Oregon Attorney General’s race should be taken as a clear and unambiguous message to U.S. Attorneys around the country and to the national Democratic leadership that attacking state-approved medical marijuana programs is not a smart political move. Medical marijuana has overwhelming public support – it is now legal in 16 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and national polls have consistently shown support in the 70-80% range for well over a decade. Drug war rhetoric and tactics will not be tolerated, and organizations like Drug Policy Action will be there to defend patients’ rights to safely access the medicine they need.”
Voters’ support for Rosenblum could be interpreted as much needed evidence for medical marijuana supporters' political influence. While the vast majority of Americans support medical marijuana, and 50 percent are in favor of full legalization, politicians continue to act as if safe access is a fringe issue.