I have received many questions about the upcoming “Marijuana” ballot measure in Klamath County. If passed ballot measure 18-105 would “... require Klamath County to allow State-approved licenses, allowing medical dispensaries, retail farms and retail sales to conduct business within the County.”
The perceived benefits are increased local tax revenue, an economic boost to the local economy and the promotion of liberty. These arguments sound good on the surface, but upon further investigation they are nothing but permission to provide harm to our community, in order that a few can benefit. In other words the special interests are at it again (a few benefit while everyone else pays the price).
In the mid-1800's America grappled with the problem of slavery. As a matter of fact America had been struggling with this problem before the revolution. The proponents of slavery argued that slavery helped the South boost their local economies and that the 10th Amendment granted them the liberty to do so. Sound familiar? So how did Abraham Lincoln combat these apparent obstacles? He took the moral high road and said while what the South was saying might be true about slavery, slavery was also wrong.
Lincoln made the simple claim that slavery was wrong. In essence Lincoln stated that laws should rest on a moral principle, not just solely on economic ones. Lincoln’s argument and conviction were powerful enough to endure the Civil War and keep the Union together. The idea of expanding economic opportunity sounds wonderful in Klamath County, but at what expense? How many children will have easier access to a drug we know is harmful to them? How many out of work will decide getting high is easier than looking for a job or going back to school? When something becomes legal it often gains legitimacy. The sole purpose of the recreational use of marijuana is to get high. That is not a moral good. All the problems Klamath County faces will not get better with more people high on marijuana, it will only exacerbate them.
If our foundational principle is to improve the local economy, why don't we lower the drinking age to 14 and double the number the liquor stores in Klamath County? Would this not help our economy? Maybe, but the harm done is obvious. Likewise, the passage of 18-105 would not be a moral good.
As far as the freedom and liberty to do so, this is not what liberty is about. Liberty is granted by the Creator so we can pursue happiness. At the time of the Constitutional Convention the meaning of the “happiness” was not to get high or drunk. The “Pursuit of Happiness” meant seeking a life of virtue and character, not vice and debauchery.
Knowing that, does measure 18-105 help our community seek a life of virtue and character? Or instead does it help promote a life of vice and debauchery? I think the answer is obvious and that is why I urge a No-Vote on 18-105.