Weeding Petitions

Weeding Petitions
Posted by CN Staff on July 05, 2006 at 08:04:32 PT
By Jacques Von Lunen
Source: Willamette Week 
Oregon -- Backers of an initiative petition to make adult marijuana offenses the lowest enforcement priority for Portland cops say they'll turn in more than enough signatures by this week's deadline to get the question on the city ballot. After a final signature-gathering push last weekend by Citizens for a Safer Portland, chief petitioner Chris Iverson said Monday the group has collected about 40,000 signatures. That would be nearly 50 percent more than the 26,961 valid signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.
City elections officer Susan Francois says initiatives that turned in 20 to 30 percent more signatures than necessary used to be fairly assured of making the ballot. But she says the growing number of petitions in recent years has meant more confusion for signers, who she says are now more likely to have signed the same petition more than once. Iverson claims his organization has already entered petition signers' names into a spreadsheet to eliminate doubles, and crossed off voters from outside city limits. "Everyone always says that," Francois says with a laugh. As for the initiative's intent to move pot enforcement down the police priority list, Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz wonders how pot could be any lower of a priority for Portland's cops.He told WW that marijuana-related arrests "are a fraction of what they were" before the state began handing out medical marijuana cards in May 1999. Local growers and consumers aren't a target, Schmautz says, because "the local drug task forces only look for trafficking organizations." But while the initiative, if approved, may not have a big effect on Portland's drug enforcement, it would require that the mayor get involved in the national movement to tax and regulate marijuana. "Tax and regulate" is the central platform of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national nonprofit that supports the local initiative. The project's goal: to establish a state-regulated marijuana trade in which the product is sold in state-run stores and taxed much like alcohol and cigarettes. The Portland initiative would require the mayor annually to inform state and federal officials elected by Oregonians, including members of Congress and the president, "of the voters' request that the federal and Oregon state governments take immediate steps to legally tax and regulate marijuana use." Iverson concedes most lawmakers won't jump just because the mayor drops them a line, but he adds, "The intention is that elected officials know that this is taken seriously by Portland voters." Note: Backers of a Portland marijuana initiative say they'll have enough signatures by the July 7 deadline.Source: Willamette Week (OR)Author: Jacques Von LunenPublished: July 5, 2006Copyright: 2006 Willamette WeekContact: mzusman wweek.comWebsite: Policy Project -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 05, 2006 at 10:54:31 PT
Drug Policy Alliance: Lynn Zimmer 1947-2006
July 5, 2006I am very sad to tell you that Lynn Zimmer died Sunday morning at the age of 59.Professor Zimmer, a sociologist at Queens College in New York, was widely regarded among both drug policy scholars and activists as the most original thinker on drug issues in the United States. She co-authored (with her dear friend and colleague, Dr. John P. Morgan) the book, Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts , the leading (and best selling) scholarly book on marijuana; it has been translated and published in seven languages to date. She also published extensively on other drug issues, including drug testing, drug education, and drugs and the media, and appeared often on radio and TV programs. Professor Lynn Zimmer received both The Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship from the Drug Policy Foundation (now the Drug Policy Alliance) and the Lester Grinspoon Award for Achievement in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in 2000. She was looked to as an intellectual leader in the growing drug policy reform movement. She was simultaneously a fierce critic of drug prohibition and the nationís harsh drug war policies but also a keen skeptic of arguments for full legalization. Her insights into drug use and addiction, as well as the various roles of drugs in society, were unparalleled.Before working on drug issues, Lynn Zimmer authored Women Guarding Men, a path breaking study of women hired as guards in menís prisons that examined the painful process of transition from a segregated to an integrated prison environment.Lynn Zimmer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1990s. This disease took away much of her eyesight, sense of taste, and mobility but never diminished her remarkable mind. She was a beloved teacher, friend and mentor to many.She is survived by two sons, Joseph and Mark Zimmer.Lynn was a dear friend of mine and many, many others who committed their lives to ending the war on drugs.Sincerely,Ethan A. NadelmannExecutive DirectorDrug Policy Alliance70 West 36th Street, 16th floor
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