Dwight Holton is backtracking on marijuana. We don't believe him.

By Robert Wolfe of Portland, Oregon. Robert is the chief petitioner of IP-24, a measure to legalize and regulate marijuana in Oregon. He is also the director of Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, leading the anti-Holton campaign by marijuana activists.

Dwight Holton, attorney general candidate, is trying to walk back the controversy that he has created over medical marijuana. As some of the original supporters and defenders of our state medical marijuana law, we're not buying it.

In fact, Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement has just launched a radio ad campaign blasting Holton for his positions on medical marijuana and for his lack of experience in Oregon state courts. We believe that his open disrespect of our 14-year-old medical marijuana law raises doubts about his fitness for the attorney general position.

Medical marijuana supporters first noticed Holton last year, when he was interim U.S. attorney. He penned a letter to non-profits and patient organizations statewide that assist medical marijuana patients -- and to their landlords. He threatened them with property confiscation under Federal law, saying their activities "will not be tolerated." That they were complying with state law was no defense -- federal law does not respect state law on this matter. So neither did Holton.

Then last fall, Holton authorized federal raids of medical marijuana farms in Southern Oregon that were state-licensed. Hundreds of patients lost access to medicine that belonged to them under state law.

Holton volunteered to spend his resources attacking Oregon's medical marijuana patients; he wasn't ordered to do so. With the letters and raids, Holton demonstrated a disturbing disregard for the voters of Oregonians. It also shows his priorities are driven more by prosecutorial and perhaps political zeal, than a measured judgment about using scarce resources to best serve the citizens of Oregon.

His statements while campaigning confirm his disregard for our voter-passed law. Recently, Holton called our state law a "train wreck" (Eugene City Club, March 20). A candidate who respects a voter-approved law and pledges to uphold it would not start out with a derisive attack on it.

Holton has also promised to ally himself with Republicans who are "anxious to look at modifications to that law" (Eugene City Club, March 20).

This last comment is very troubling. In the 2011 legislative session, I represented a broad coalition opposing more than a dozen different bills -- sponsored almost exclusively by Republicans -- all designed to strangle, or greatly diminish, the OMMA. It took a huge fight with multiple public hearings to get all of those bills killed. If Holton becomes attorney general and keeps his promise to seek "modifications" sponsored by Republicans, OMMA is in deep trouble.

Holton knows he's gotten himself in trouble on marijuana. Last Friday at a debate in Salem, Holton was asked a direct question about the Southern Oregon raids by a patient in a wheelchair. Holton ducked the question awkwardly. His opponent, Ellen Rosenblum, warned the crowd that Holton was changing his public statements, but that he remained a staunch opponent of the medical marijuana program.

Now Holton's campaign staff is trying to blur the lines and walk back his previous comments. They've said Holton "does not support repealing the law" and used cautious language to say Holton "will help lead a responsible discussion of how best to make improvements to the law."

However, I think the pattern of Holton's behavior as well as statements from earlier in the campaign clearly point to a candidate that would be very damaging to the OMMA and the cause of rational marijuana policy in general. He may be reacting to our campaign now by moderating his speech, but his past actions and statements tell a much different story.

Rosenblum is the better choice for Attorney General. She has far more relevant experience with Oregon law, including 22 years as a judge in Oregon state courts. She has repeatedly stated her support for the medical marijuana law, and goes further to say marijuana should be a low priority for law enforcement. That's common sense.

Comments

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    I'm still undecided in this race, but I do know that the candidates' positions on medical marijuana and the "War On Some Drugs" will be important in my decisionmaking process.

    I have friends who use and need medical marijuana. I myself haven't had much personal interest in marijuana for upwards of 30 years, but I hate the hypocritical way we prohibit it while allowing ourselves and our children to get messed up with alcohol and tobacco.

    So I ought to be leaning toward Judge Rosenblum.

    But I heard your ad a few times earlier today and it is so heavyhanded and ugly that I hate it.

    I am not sure you are helping your favored candidate by running that ad. I know you are not helping her with me.

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      I'm still undecided in this race.

      The ad however, seems slow and plodding - kind of sleepy in tone, actually.

      Not really surprising, I guess, from marijuana activists.

      Anybody want nachos?

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    The thing I notice is that from the time he graduated law school to the time he began campaigning for AG, Holton's primary employer was the federal government. It doesn't surprise me that his politics might be more in tune with Washington DC than Salem.

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    What has John Kroger's political machine done to earn a second term?

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    The Oregon Attorney General has relatively little to do with enforcing drug laws, except at the very top of the trafficking end. Kroger got convictions of major heroin dealers and the like. DAs like me do 98% of all drug prosecutions and marijuana is generally a very low priority. It is extremely rare for even a repeat major dealer to get a prison sentence. Mr. Wolf was just fined $65,000 by Kate Brown's office. I assume Kate's bona fides aren't being challenged. I have long advocated that marijuana be federally rescheduled (no, any lowering of the STATE schedules are legally meaningless to the feds) to a Schedule 2 substance - meaning that like many other drugs with the POTENTIAL for abuse, they would be prescribed by a doctor and dispensed through the pharmacy system. Dwight has simply been giving everyone a reality check on what the Obama Administration - for whom he worked as US Attorney - has said it will do - and has done in other states - if they think medical marijuana laws are being mis-used.

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      The case law says that the CSA was designed and intended to combat illegal drug use, it was never intended to interfere in a States right to regulte medicine. If a State Reschedules at State level than it MUST affect the federal actions because they have to respect States Constitutionally granted Power to regulate medicine. If Oregon says it is medicine, it is. Are you sure you are a lawyer?

    • (Show?)

      Brown's bona fides? I do not believe Billy Kyle and Bob Wolfe were paying per signature and every petitioner I have met for their campaign was being paid hourly. Why would they pay a couple of minor employees per signature just for kicks?

      It looks like more chilling effects upon the initiative process by Brown as per her campaign promises to the public employee union leadership that got her tens of thousands in large donation checks.

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    Prohibition has finally run its course; our prisons are full, our economy is in ruins, the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans have been destroyed or severely disrupted, and what was once a shining beacon of liberty and prosperity has become a toxic, repressive, smoldering heap of hypocrisy and a gross affront to fundamental human decency.

    It is now the duty of every last one of us to insure that the people who are responsible for this shameful situation are not simply left in peace to enjoy the wealth and status that their despicable actions have, until now, afforded them. Former and present Prohibitionists must not be allowed to remain untainted and untouched from the unconscionable acts that they have viciously committed on their fellow citizens. - They have provided us with neither safe communities nor safe streets; we will provide them with neither a safe haven to enjoy their ill-gotten gains nor the liberty to repeat such a similar atrocity!

    Prohibition has evolved local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, helping them control vast swaths of territory while gifting them with significant social and military resources.

    Those responsible for the shameful policy of prohibition shall not go unpunished!

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    Several hours after this guest column was posted, a $65,000 fine was levied against Mr. Wolfe by the Elections Division --- for allegedly paying petition circulators by the signature, rather than by the hour.

    Here's the news story.

    Robert, any response?

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    Wow, Mr. Holton must really be feeling the heat to pull such a low politically manuever. Must have called in a lot of favors for that one. But the heat is on and it is the best time possible to make marijuana policy part of the public conversation.

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    Prohibition has finally run its course; our prisons are full, our economy is in ruins, the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans have been destroyed or severely disrupted, and what was once a shining beacon of liberty and prosperity has become a toxic, repressive, smoldering heap of hypocrisy and a gross affront to fundamental human decency.

    It is now the duty of every last one of us to insure that people like Holten, who are responsible for this shameful situation, are not simply left in peace to enjoy the wealth and status that their despicable actions have, until now, afforded them.

    Former and present Prohibitionists must not be allowed to remain untainted and untouched from the unconscionable acts that they have viciously committed on their fellow citizens. - They have provided us with neither safe communities nor safe streets; we will provide them with neither a safe haven to enjoy their ill-gotten gains nor the liberty to repeat such a similar atrocity!

    Prohibition has evolved local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, helping them control vast swaths of territory while gifting them with significant social and military resources.

    Those responsible for the shameful policy of prohibition shall not go unpunished!

  • (Show?)

    @ Josh-Marquis: Dwight's overly narrow interpretation of the OMMA is not supported by statute. He has made it clear that he considers 70% of the patients in the program to not be legitimate. But is it really the job of the AG to determine the appropriate practice of medicine? Don't we have, you know, ACTUAL doctors for that? I think we even have a Board of medical examiners.It shouldn't be the job of the AG to second-guess licensed professionals with more training than he has in medicine.

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    Democrats need to elect an Attorney General who can set priorities appropriately. Holton spent scarce justice resources stealing medicine from patients. How can that be a good use of our money? Fortunately, Holton did not charge anyone with a crime after the raids which would have wasted even more money, but it leaves us with a good impression of how he leads. Instead of bringing people together to figure out a way to deal with the conflict between state and federal law, Holton acted like a bully. He choose to disregard the will of Oregon voters and attack our voter approved - legislature reaffirmed law. Democrats should hold him accountable. Elect Rosenblum.

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      I am concerned with the notion that Dwight Holton felt that it is ok to violate someone's property, take what they are legally allowed to have under State law and not charge them with a crime: it amounts to armed robbery with a badge, and direct insubordination to the Stated policy of the Obama Administration.

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    Howdy, All:

    I was notified by phone about 4:30 pm yesterday that I should have received an email from Mr. Trout at Elections. I acknowledged receiving the email. Three minutes later, Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian called me for a comment, and told me that SOS had just sent out a state-wide press release. Then, the "fine" story ran concurrently with the "Pot and Holton" story today.

    For the record, it's a "proposed" fine. The action is subject to a administrative law hearing, and can be appealed in the courts. Those who think it's a 'done deal' are incorrect.

    I'm conferring with counsel, and will request a hearing. We are continuing to gather signatures. We have more than 100,000 and are well on track to make the ballot.

    We have successfully prevented Mr. Holton from running away from his views on medical marijuana and marijuana in general. I continue to believe voters in the May primary should hold Mr. Holton accountable for his past actions and statements on marijuana, and vote for his opponnent, Ellen Rosenblum -- the better candidate in any case.

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    I've been working on initiative campaigns since the Med. MJ Act passed (and the referendum on making <1oz a misdemeanor was defeated) in 1998, and although I've been working on a competing initiative (and not directly with Bob) my contacts with him about signature gathering and initiative campaign law have left me impressed with both the breadth of his knowledge and the conscientiousness with which he has conducted his signature gathering campaign.

    Regardless of who the Secretary of State is, it has always been a political position and many actions taken by the SoS have been politically motivated, especially insofar as the exercise of the initiative power is concerned.

    I'm not saying that is necessarily the case here. I am saying that an accusation (and a proposed sanction) are just that, and Democrats who believe in fairness, the presumption of innocence and Due Process ought not be persuaded that an accusation is accurate or true, just because the Secretary of State makes it.

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    There is no doubt in my mind that the political establishment in Oregon is feeling the ground shaking beneath them. Despite the stereotypes, this is the year that Oregon's marijuana movement has gotten organized, and the power structure can't stand it.

    I-24 is well on pace to make the ballot, already having 100,000 signatures and more than two months left to collect. Holton has been pressed at every event about marijuana policy, including in person by the representatives of Oregon's seven local chapters of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at a recent debate at Willamette Law School. A majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization for recreational use, and well over seventy percent support medical marijuana. Those politicians who find themselves in the unsustainable position of defending the indefensible, are finally starting to understand they're in the minority.

    There isn't any doubt in my mind that the proposed fine from the SOS, and then Kroger stepping down (seemingly to usher in Holton as acting AG)were politically motivated, and purposefully timed as a shot across the bow of the marijuana movement in Oregon. If we are drawing this much heat in a single week, you know we must be doing something right.

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    If you support Ellen Rosenblum for all of the common sense reasons that have been stated in this thread, then please consider not supporting Pres. Obama and his (in)Justice Dept., which is making life very tough for legal dispensaries and who just preached amping-up the drug war (and wasting even more money on it) at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena. Not long ago, Obama said he'd use the "best science" to determine his policy as regards medical marijuana: well, he lied about that! Green Party candidate Jill Stein is attempting to call out Obama on the lies and stupidity of his current policy, but his ears are plugged with untold millions of campaign cash!

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      Jill Stein?? Seriously? Why not Ralph Nader? That worked out really well in 2000. We got to have 8 years of GWB, the Iraq War, Citizen's United-corporations are persons-money is speech, and Alito and Roberts on the Supreme Court. But I guess you live in the firebagger/Glen Greenwald universe where those things don't matter, just drones.

      I thought this thread was about the Oregon AG and not firebagger nonsense and Jill Stein.

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    "Firebagger nonsense", eh? If you want, I'll get you some links from mainstream sources about how Obama's (in)Justice has done a "180" as regards medical pot. And about what he advocated in Cartagena. You and your ilk, the Obamabots, cannot handle the truth about your man.

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    WATCH OUT! Nancy Pelosi has turned "firebagger", as now she, too, is calling out Obama's (in)Justice for having conducted over 200 raids at state-legal dispensaries! But, don't worry, Bill, I won't let Nancy know about the insults you've hurled at her ilk, as I know you're in great standing as a Dem party insider who is always relevant and probably want to maintain your status.

  • (Show?)

    Take that marijuana opponents!

    http://www.theweedblog.com/anti-marijuana-candidate-dwight-holton-loses-election-to-ellen-rosenblum/

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