Portland NORML

History of Oregon Reform Efforts

This page is intended to gather the complete text of stories from The Oregonian, The Oregon Journal, Willamette Week and other media that reported on reform efforts in Oregon prior to the establishment of the Portland NORML web site in 1995. (See our Portland NORML 1998 Daily News page for more recent news, or the All Politics Is Local section for the period from 1995 through 1997.) Other articles to be linked here report on various reform campaigns, holding actions and related events of historical importance. Some articles to be linked here describe how federal officials - for example, then-Drug Czar William Bennett - violated the Hatch Act by interfering with the democratic process and using their positions and offices to influence a partisan state election. Oregon officials have also routinely violated state election law ORS 260.432 (1) & (2).

Many of the articles posted here are copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107) for educational purposes. NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. These transcriptions are not for sale or resale.
Recriminalization of Marijuana Dies in the Oregon Legislature, a report on the 1995 Oregon legislative session by D. Paul Stanford, Chief Petitioner for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 1997.

Forum speakers rail against drug use, marijuana initiative The Oregonian, Oct. 19, 1986. Jeffrey Kushner, director of the Oregon Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, which co-sponsors the event, claims several times that he is speaking as an individual and not as a representative of the state. Kushner encourages participants to shop at Fred Meyer stores, which is printing shopping bags urging customers to vote against OMI. Other speakers promote the mistaken notion that OMI would somehow make it easier for kids to smoke cannabis.

Agriculture official attacks Measure 5, from The Oregonian, Oct. 16, 1986. Your tax dollars at work.... Another federal official lobbies against a partisan state initiative, showing the usual bad faith and worse logic. Ignoring the fact that OMI would eliminate the alleged problem, assistant U.S. secretary of agriculture George Dunlop charges that "federal forestry officials are unequipped to deal with growers who defend their crops with pipe bombs, submachine guns, booby traps and attack dogs." As far as we know, no Oregon marijuana grower has ever been charged with or convicted of using pipe bombs, etc. - although police who break down growers' doors have been known to shoot unrestrained pet dogs. Dunlop's ludicrous assertion that cannabis cultivators had taken over 1 million acres of federal land similarly went unchallenged.

Churches fight marijuana legalization The Oregonian, June 21, 1986. The socially conservative clergy imply that repealing Prohibition was a mistake. They also seem to sow the mistaken notion that OMI will "legalize" marijuana for 10-year-old children.

Marijuana convention ignites protest, from The Oregonian, June 21, 1986. Teen-agers and parents march around the Hilton Hotel block in downtown Portland, site of the 16th annual NORML convention, chanting "No on 5 - Get High On Life." The anti-marijuana group was organized by parents loosely affiliated with the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, according to Kathy Dauenhauer of Portland. She and other protesters said legalizing marijuana would aggravate the youth drug problem. Meanwhile, local radio stations refuse to run advertising about the NORML convention or OMI, and Portland School Board member Stephen Kafoury is said to be intimidated into canceling his speaking engagement before the convention.

OMI: A Legal Chance To Choose, from High Times, April 1986. Kevin Zeese, Executive Director of NORML at the time, preaches to the choir about OMI in his "NORML-izer" column.

OMI: On the Ballot High Times, March 1986, pp. 24 & 27. The 1986 Oregon General Election Ballot will definitely include the Oregon Marijuana Initiative, listed as Ballot Measure 5.

The Case of the Marked Cards, Willamette Week, Nov. 21, 1985. OMI directors notice that the voter registration cards obtained from the Multnomah County Elections Department all are marked with a green felt pen. One of the bundles picked up by OMI supporters also included a handwritten note (in green) which reads, "Use green cards only for O.M.I."

Despite denial, petitioners vow to return to court The Oregonian, Sept. 13, 1984. The petitioners had argued before the court that while the sampling method used by Secretary of State Norma Paulus to check an initiative that clearly had enough signatures should be counted in total since the estimated number of valid signatures was only 863 less than the number required for the ballot. The court, however, did not settle that question, choosing instead to order a recount based on five specific allegations of error by Paulus' staff. The ruling without comment Wednesday again left the question unanswered.

High court reverses Paulus on marijuana vote The Oregonian, Aug. 30, 1984. The Oregon Supreme Court rules that Secretary of State Norma Paulus was wrong when she decided that OMI petitions contained too few valid signatures to qualify for the November 1984 ballot.

Marijuana initiative sponsors decry signature count The Oregonian, Aug. 25, 1984. Secretary of State Norma Paulus tries to disenfranchise voters with such dirty tricks as sending signatures to the wrong counties for verification and then refusing to count them as valid after they had been forwarded to the correct county.

Excerpts from "Interview: Tom Alexander" High Times, December 1983. Dick Evans' bill, the DEA coup that ended democracy and killed the free press in Oregon; fanatical "parents" groups imported to alter the political landscape; and a picture of Oregon reform efforts in 1983.

For cancer patients - 4 Oregon Hospitals Get Marijuana, by The Oregon Journal (Portland), Dec. 12, 1980. Oregon State Health Division officials said Wednesday that the first supplies of marijuana cigarettes and THC capsules for use in chemotherapy treatment of cancer patients have arrived at four Oregon hospitals. Altogether, 21 hospital pharmacies in 12 Oregon cities are approved to maintain and dispense supplies and 30 private physicians have been accepted as investigators in the Oregon research program.

Marijuana use by cancer patients OK'd, from The Oregon Journal (Portland), July 15, 1980. According to Dr. John A. Googins, chief of the Oregon State Health Division's Office of Disease Monitoring and Control, The Health Division has received federal approval for an experimental program to supply marijuana cigarettes to patients in cancer chemotherapy. The program was approved by "the Drug Enforcement Administration of the Food and Drug Administration" (sic), which will test the anti-vomiting properties of THC and marijuana. (The article should probably also say cannabis was approved as an anti-vomiting medicine from the early 19th century until 1937, rather than the early 18th century.)

Young legislative hopefuls differ in opinions on legalizing 'pot' The Oregonian, Saturday, March 26, 1972, Forum, p. 5. "Vera Katz, 38, candidate for state representative, District 8: 'Because of the criminal laws against use of marijuana, we are creating an entire generation of people with criminal records, records that will follow them through the rest of their lives. I would like to help decriminalize the use of marijuana and expunge records after a period of time.'"

Editorial from the now-dufunct News Telegram, Portland, Oregon, April 4, 1932. Though written in the context of alcohol Prohibition, this is still relevant for those who think forfeiture and other heavy economic penalties for drug offenders make sense.

Recent History

Please Vote "No" for New Jails in Multnomah County, a Usenet essay posted May 14, 1996, after the Portland mass media unanimously refused to print or broadcast even one "opinion" piece or news article that would undercut public support for two measures in the May 21, 1996 election to raise $250 million in taxes for Multnomah County jails.

Just Say No to New Jails and The Oregonian's "Cells for crooks" A subsequent Usenet post of a "letter to the editor" of The Oregonian revealing the media monopoly's extreme bias and manipulation of public opinion.

Speech to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, February 1996. One of several speeches in opposition to new jails.

Portland NORML is seeking volunteers to comb through local libraries and to make photocopies of pre-1995 news articles on reform efforts in Oregon. If you have any relevant clippings from media, or tapes of television or radio reports, or would like to do some research for us, please contact the webmaster.


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