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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pothead politics

Here we are just days away from the primary election, and of course, in Portland we are keepin' it weird. All of a sudden the most pressing issues before us have to do with marijuana. In the Oregon attorney general race, the pot people have it in for Dwight Holton, who as acting U.S. attorney busted their chops with great relish. Meanwhile, Holton's opponent, Ellen "For the Children" Rosenblum, is playing footsie with the hemp folks, citing the majestic dignity of the state's medical marijuana laws.

It's remarkable how this sort of thing might actually affect the outcome of the race. How much involvement does the state attorney general's office have in marijuana enforcement, anyway?

Elsewhere, Oregon secretary of state Kate Brown, under a bit of a cloud for her odd handling on the state labor commissioner election, out of the blue has slapped a massive penalty on a signature-gathering outfit working on a pot legalization initiative. They were allegedly paying their staffers by the signature collected, which is a no-no under Oregon law.

This was one of Brown's noisy enforcement actions, replete with a "make an example out of you" statement. Quite different from when she busted Portland public school officials for abuse of taxpayer funds in a recent initiative campaign. There was nary a peep out of her about that one.

In any event, it's interesting that Brown is busting the pot people on the eve of the election, while Rosenblum's whispering sweet nothings into their bong. The stoners are definitely having their moment in the limelight. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Comments (4)

Just legalize, tax and sell it. Much ado about pretty much nothing.

65 grand for pot initiative signature gathering mistake. Remind me please how big a fine was it for the fraud involving the recent Portland Public School initiative error, $75.00 if memory serves me right.

Eventually, Trout said, the division obtained signed statements from two petitioners stating that they had been paid a bounty for signatures they had collected on 26 sheets. Wolfe was penalized $2,500 for each of the sheets.

If I am reading the administrative rule and statutes correctly below, it appears that Kate Brown is fining the marijuana petitioners 10x higher than the maximum fine allowed under statute and 25x higher than the minimum fine required by the rule.

OAR 165-014-0260

Prohibition on Paying or Receipt of Payment based on the Number of Signatures Obtained on an Initiative, Referendum, Candidate Nominating Petition or Voter Registration Cards

(5) Violations of Section 1b or ORS 260.569 will be processed under 260.995 as civil penalties. Penalties may be assessed against chief petitioners or any other persons who either directly or indirectly pay based on the number of signatures or voter registration cards obtained. Liability may be imposed on chief petitioners as provided in 260.561. Violations of Section 1b or 260.569 will be calculated by deeming each individual signature sheet or voter registration card that contains signatures that were collected in violation of Section 1b or 260.569 as a single occurrence with a minimum civil penalty of $100. Violations of Section 1b or 260.569 shall not be combined under OAR 165-013-0020(1)(b)(E).

ORS 260.995 Civil penalties. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, following an investigation under ORS 260.345, the Secretary of State or Attorney General may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $250 for each violation of any provision of Oregon Revised Statutes relating to the conduct of any election, any rule adopted by the secretary under ORS chapters 246 to 260 or any other matter preliminary to or relating to an election, for which a civil penalty is not otherwise provided.

This Holton guy keeps emailing me. I replied 'leave the gays, pot heads and gun nuts alone and I'll vote for you.'

No response.

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