'Should marijuana be legalized?'

Yes – Phyllice Bradner

I have been signing petitions to legalize marijuana for more than 40 years, and I am finally beginning to see rational movement in public attitudes toward our ill-conceived “war on pot.”

We need only look back at the disastrous effects of the Prohibition era to recognize that laws prohibiting the manufacture, sale and possession of something people are going to use anyway only harms the economy and turns otherwise productive citizens into criminals. Laws that make no sense deteriorate the public’s respect for all laws and for those who enforce them.

I don’t smoke pot, but that doesn’t mean I think those who do should be considered criminals — not any more than I think my friends who drink alcohol would have been committing a crime in 1925. As I have seen firsthand, enforcement of these misdirected laws has done far more damage to some people’s lives than the use of the drug has ever done.

I have seen college students on paths to meaningful careers languish in jail for growing a few marijuana plants. Their ability to serve the community in productive jobs was lost while the government wasted public money prosecuting and incarcerating them.

I have seen those who choose to relax with a little pot — hardworking laborers, craftspeople, successful businesswomen, teachers and grandfathers — venture into back alleys, pay exorbitant prices and risk arrest, while those who choose alcohol instead stroll into a liquor store or tavern for their legal libations.

I personally have known respected politicians who use pot at home and then speak in favor of drug laws to appease constituents. Why? Because Americans are hypocrites!

So many people we idolize — movie stars, musicians, soldiers, writers, athletes, public figures of all sorts — admit to using pot for recreation and relaxation. Do we really think of them as criminals? Of course not; we merely turn a blind eye. And yet we direct our law enforcement officers to arrest the enterprising hippie dude for growing some pot in his back yard.

Obviously , when you decriminalize marijuana, you save government money. How much? Consider the cost of enforcement, prosecution and often defense, incarceration, probation officers, foster care for children of incarcerated offenders and public assistance for families whose wage-earners have been jailed.

Instead of sucking money from our dwindling state coffers, legal marijuana could generate tax revenue. Sales to minors can be regulated as it is with alcohol. Growing and processing cannabis and hemp will create farming and manufacturing jobs that will boost the economy.

There’s no doubt that we have a big drug problem in our country. Sales of illegal drugs to U.S. consumers make up a huge percentage of the market that benefits foreign drug cartels.

Phyllice Bradner is a McMinnville author and award-winning artist with associate degrees in art and journalism. She owned and operated Katz & Dawgs retail shop in McMinnville. In Alaska, she ran her own communications business for 17 years and worked as an art director, interior designer and political consultant.


No – Jack Crabtree

As a sheriff, parent, husband and American citizen, I find it troublesome to observe the tragedies striking our youth every day. I wish I knew what causes such tragedies, but since I don’t, I will offer an educated guess.

I believe children are the products of both their parents and the environment in which they are raised. Children are like sponges, absorbing what they observe, and they constantly are looking for cues about right and wrong behavior.

I believe people want to do the right thing. Unfortunately, over the years, what once was deemed wrong now is considered a good thing.

For example, behaviors that once were wrong, but which since have been accepted by society as “good,” include the promotion of gambling and the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs such as marijuana.

Fortunately, our society finally realized that the harmful effects of tobacco use could no longer be denied, and we have since admitted that the promotion of its use has destroyed countless lives.

Regrettably, society has not reached the same point with the other behaviors. When we allow the promotion of these vices as “good” things, our children are not aware of factual consequences. Thousands of people enroll in expensive treatment programs or need hospitalization, or worse, die as a result of their drug use.

Four million people are dependent on or abusers of marijuana. Annual emergency room admissions involving marijuana have surpassed those involving heroin. And marijuana use is associated with depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Youths who engage in anti-social behavior are far more likely to use marijuana than those who do not. Recent studies show that marijuana use among adolescents has a direct cause and effect on their IQ, and increases school dropout rates.

For these reasons, I find it difficult to support the “cop out” of today’s misinformed messages that we should legalize and promote these vices because they are perceived to be safe.

The truth is, we don’t have the will to take a stand and resist what we all know will increase the health risks and danger of addiction to our youth.

 Legalizing marijuana will increase exposure and usage among adolescents as well as adults. Also, addiction, incarceration and abuse of this drug will increase, as will the inherent negative financial strain on our society. So why are we even considering legalization?

If we are going to have an honest debate about marijuana, then it should be based on facts, not myths. Therefore, we should consider the following questions:

Do we want to increase the availability and consumption of marijuana within our communities?

Do we want to increase the financial burden upon taxpayers?

Do we desire additional stress to our fragile health care system and our overburdened criminal justice system?

Do we want to increase the mental and physical health risks to our families?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then a Yes vote is appropriate; if you answer no to any of them, then vote No on legalizing marijuana.

Recently, the sheriffs of Oregon took a stand. I believe a story published in the sheriff’s magazine helped prevent the legalization of marijuana in Oregon. The story, which was very informative and to the point, was entitled, “What’s good about marijuana? Nothing!”

Over the past decade, exposure of drug prevention ads in the media and from school sources has declined. Meanwhile, messages in the media about marijuana being safe have increased, leading to a false sense of security among our children that smoking marijuana is OK.

Finally, recent studies show that 40 percent of adolescents never talk with their parents about the dangers of substance abuse. For me, this leaves one last question about the debate over legalizing marijuana: “Have you talked to your kids about drugs lately?”

Guest writer Jack Crabtree was elected Yamhill County Sheriff in 2002 and headed the sheriff’s detective division in the county for 12 years before that. He has headed investigations in many drug-related and high-profile cases over the years, most recently the seizure of 544 marijuana plants worth $500,000 in Sheridan.


Don Dix

Phyllice says legalization will save the government money -- Jack says legalization will cost the government money.

Both cannot be correct, so which one is it?

Michael Tubbs Sr

"Both cannot be correct, so which one is it?"

Neither is, in that context, Don. The only way marijuana would cost the government money, is, if the government were to subsidize the market to a tune that is less than the return in revenue generated from it.

The government doesn't save money, never has and never will, because that is not what the government does. Government takes money, then decides how to spend it. .ie $600 for toilet seats and $400 on hammers, ect. ect. ect....

Michael Tubbs Sr

The above comment should read--->, if the government were to subsidize the market to a tune that is more than the return in revenue generated from it.

David Bates

It seems to me that the vast majority of problems that we associate with marijuana stem almost entirely from its illegality, which is a social construct, and not from the actual use of marijuana. If what illegality ultimately boils down to is, "It's bad for you," then anyone opposing legalization ought to be prepared to also argue that we ban alcohol and tobacco, not to mention the poisonous crap that ends up in a lot of processed foods. I know of no one who is prepared to do that, and anyone could tell you what would happen if we did.

David Bates

It seems to me that the vast majority of problems that we associate with marijuana stem almost entirely from its illegality, which is a social construct, and not from the actual use of marijuana. If what illegality ultimately boils down to is, "It's bad for you," then anyone opposing legalization ought to be prepared to also argue that we ban alcohol and tobacco, not to mention the poisonous crap that ends up in a lot of processed foods. I know of no one who is prepared to do that, and anyone could tell you what would happen if we did.

troy prouty

I don't know about pot causing depression or suicide. I think a lot of people have underline issues already and use drugs and alcohol to deal with them. Many of these people might be suicidal to begin with?


Don Dix

See, that's my complaint. It's very similar to the political double-speak we have endured for years. Both sides make the claim, but neither backs it up with fact, just points fingers at the other. It's just thrown out out there to see if it sticks.

It would be nice to know the actual truth, wouldn't you say?

Sal Peralta

Don - Yes, it is very difficult to get accurate data in an adversarial debate such as this one. Both sides tend to misrepresent their actual numbers.
In Colorado, they are estimating that pot legalization will generate between $60 and $100 million per year in revenue. Their medical dispensary program, which appears much more open than Oregon's, generated $22 million last year.
However, in order to determine whether there is a positive or negative cash flow, you would need to know whether any additional societal costs imposed by pot legalization that government needs to handle.
For example, tax revenue from cigarettes is pretty substantial, but since a relatively high number of smokers are poor enough to be on medicare, there is also a substantial cost imposed through health care costs that are not handled through insurance.
I would imagine that the smoking-related risks of marijuana are similar to that for other forms of tobacco, so I imagine that there would be some costs there. However, I am skeptical about the Sheriff's claim that we would see increased incarceration rates as a result of decriminalizing pot. My guess would be that initial incarceration rates would drop as a result of fewer prosecutions of marijuana possession, and that we might also see a drop in people currently incarcerated on marijuana-related charges.

Michael Tubbs Sr

I can't help but to wonder just how much grief their would actually be if marijuana was granted the same status as the dandelion. Crime associated with it would go... 'poof' ... as well as the blackmarket profiteering currently enjoyed by the drug cartels.

Would there be people that don't seem to have better things to do than smoke pot, sure. Will more young people take up the habit of getting high than might not, if it was granted the same status as a dandelion?

Hard to say, I smoked my first joint with the son of our Scoutmaster , Troop 87, during a week long trip to Mexicali, Mexico, back in 1966. That's how i'd first gotten introduced to it, and didn't like it, and that was that, no problem there, and never have had a problem with just saying no to future offers of it, inside or outside of Scouting.

David Bates

I can't speak knowledgeably about the health effects of tobacco v. marijuana, but I think Sheriff Crabtree makes an excellent point - one that, in fact, I believe negates his own argument for further prohibition of the latter. Enormous advances have been made in the "war on tobacco" in this country. Everyone knows it's bad for you, fewer people are doing it, and it has become socially unacceptable. How did that happen?

Hint: Prohibition had nothing to do with it.


Didn't some of our beloved FFs grow it?

Michael Tubbs Sr

I agree, David.


In Vietnam marijuana was such a negative that we got rid (sent them to rear area and turned the legal people on them) of anyone using in our unit. The detrimental effects were very obvious. Does this translate to our society? Workplace? Schools?

At what age should it be legal? Should children be around users? How about in a car (or like the U of O football players, "we smoked all of it")?

Do we legalize Meth? Or, does prohibition work for meth, but not for marijuana? Do we legalize heroin, or do we prohibit it? Or, if the state can make money selling heroin should we sell it?

Michael Tubbs Sr

I'd be interested to know what the percentage of people is in Beaverton that use marijuana in relation to the number that don't.use it.

Anyone know the answer, and if so, what is the demographic breakdown on users and non-users in the city of Beaverton?

Don Dix

It's evident that both sides of this issue cannot be truthful. There seems to be a sense that as long as the fib works to your particular favor, then any statement that supports your theory is fair game.

Under this premise, at which point can voters feel secure they have the correct numbers and facts?

The Feds have been demonizing marijuana so long that they may not be able to turn around their attitude (enforcement is a cash cow). And the Feds have produced propaganda that wouldn't fool a 10 year old, as if voters are stupid and believe everything the government says. It may have been that way 80 years ago, but not today.

Alcohol is the largest dose of prohibition ever stuffed down the throats of the people, and that didn't work out at all. Alcohol was available during 'prohibition', just as marijuana is today. So the government relented and became a player in the money train that was alcohol.

If the government can figure out how to tax, license, add fees, or any other form of revenue to the coffers, then the odds favor decriminalization -- 'cause it's always about the money'!

troy prouty

You also run into the problem of how companies address people using, at what level of "in our system" allows worker comp? Then you have the driving aspect and testing there. The problem isn't about making it legal or not, the problem is the consequences of all the other things that will need answered surrounding it, and how we deal with them in conjunction with the law.


Two thoughts: If marijuana use had been considered before alcohol became popular there is little doubt that weed would have become legal before alcohol. Marijuana smokers are not going home to beat their wives and children while alcohol is responsible for many societal ills.

Secondly: Legalizing hemp (very low grade plants) should be a priority. Fast-growing, prolific, strong and suitable for many uses, hemp utilization would take the place of many a product.

Michael Tubbs Sr

Thirdly: Let's not forget the songbirds, and just how much happier they would be.

troy prouty

People that use pot a lot seem to get very grouchy without it. I believe there are better therapies in life than smoking weed. Even for medical use, I have seen things like diet and meditation doing a better job..


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