Pubdate: Tue, 30 Sep 2014
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2014 The Oregonian
Author: Jeff Mapes


Opponents of marijuana legalization in Oregon kicked off their 
campaign Monday standing next to an array of gummy bears, sugary 
cereal, chocolate bars and other products that Colorado retailers 
lace with marijuana and sell over the counter.

"I don't want my kids to grow up in a place where this is normal," 
said Mandi Puckett, director of the No on 91 campaign, looking 
disdainfully at a display of such products as "CannaPunch" and a balm 
called "Lip Bliss."

Puckett and other opponents argued that their biggest worry with 
legalized marijuana is that it will eventually be heavily marketed 
and turned into a product as mainstream as a cold beer on a hot day.

"The marijuana industry wants us to believe that marijuana gummy 
bears and fruit punch are not targeting children," said Bob Doyle, a 
tobacco prevention expert from Colorado who has been active in an 
anti-marijuana group there.

"Are we really going to go in this direction again?," Doyle added, 
referring to the long fight with the tobacco industry over marketing 
practices aimed at hooking young consumers. He brought the packages 
of pot products from Colorado but pointedly noted that the actual 
marijuana-laced materials had been discarded.

Anthony Johnson, the chief sponsor of the Oregon marijuana 
initiative, said opponents are wrong in thinking that illegal pot 
isn't already being heavily marketed.

"Big marijuana is already here in Oregon and it's called drug 
cartels," said Johnson. "Measure 91 brings in strict controls and 
takes it away from the cartels."

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana 
in 2012, with Colorado the first to allow retail sales. And much of 
the attention there has been focused not just on rolled joints but on 
a wide variety of marijuana-laced cookies, candy bars, lollipops and beverages.

After some well-publicized cases involving accidental overdoses -- 
including a 19-year-old who jumped to his death after eating a 
pot-infused cookie - the state is moving to more tightly regulate 
so-called edibles.

The Oregon measure, Johnson said, gives the Oregon Liquor Control 
Commission plenty of authority to regulate the packaging of edible 
products, both to limit their attractiveness to youths and to ensure 
they are tested and labeled so consumers have a better of just what 
they are buying.

Opponents, however, say the Oregon measure is too lax in how much it 
allows consumers to legally possess.

Under Measure 91, adults could legally possess up to 8 ounces of 
dried marijuana, four plants, 1 pound of solid edible products, 72 
ounces of liquid pot products and an ounce of hashish.

"This is an appalling amount," said Puckett at a press conference at 
the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Oswego. "Where is this much marijuana 
going to go? It's going to go into our kids' hands."

Washington and Colorado allow adults to possess 1 ounce of marijuana. 
Washington doesn't allow consumers to grow marijuana at home while 
Colorado allows up to six plants, only three of which can be mature. 
And users there can keep all of the marijuana they've cultivated.

Johnson said Oregon's limits on marijuana products were patterned 
after Colorado's limits. He said they were designed to give 
"hobbyists some reasonable cultivation limits at home."

People who buy their marijuana from a retailer - which studies 
suggest would be the vast majority of users - will not have nearly as 
much marijuana on hand, Johnson argued. He said they'll likely buy 
smokable pot by the gram and edibles by the ounce.

Doyle, the Colorado anti-marijuana activist, said he's not buying the 
talk of tight regulation of legal markets. He noted that a new poll 
of Colorado voters now shows that a slight majority opposes 
legalization of the drug.

"We are the poster child of why states should not legalize commercial 
marijuana," said Doyle, arguing that voters have been turned off by 
the rapid spread of marijuana retail outlets and the wide array of 
colorful products.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom