Jackson County, Ore — On November 8th voters will have their say on everything from the next president of the United States to marijuana legalization.
Measure 15-144 and similar measures in Jackson County would prohibit retail sales of marijuana
Advocates on both sides of the issue say the measures have consequences beyond the ballot box.
“In my opinion the argument is based in fear,” said Clay Bearnson.
In Jackson County five cities, Shady Cove, Eagle Point, Jacksonville, Central Point and Medford, are proposing some type of prohibition on marijuana sales.
“We didn’t have anyone apply for dispensaries when they could after the state legislation came down that allowed us to put it on the ballot we went into moratorium so they can’t until the outcome of the election,” said Tom Humphrey with the City of Central Point.
Many cities are emulating Medford’s current ban which will continue if Measure 15-144 is approved by voters.
“15-144 poses the question do you want to prohibit the establishment of recreational sales in city limits,” said Bearnson.
Bearnson is a Medford City Councilor and dispensary owner, he says the ,easure won’t help the city, and only limits an industry that’s already legal on the state level.
“You’re prohibiting the establishment of an industry that’s semi-already permitted in city limits,” said Bearnson.
In Shady Cove a similar ban is in place, now voters will have the choice to allow recreational sales, a ‘yes’ vote would continue the ban.
“A yes vote, is a vote for allowing that to happen, a ban on recreational marijuana,” saud Jim Ulrich.
Ulrich is a retired police officer. He’s supporting the ‘Yes on 15-157 campaign’ that would ban recreational sales in Shady Cove.
“I have seen the devastation, the amount of devastation for families, communities, individuals. We have an option here, a one time option to control our destiny for ourselves and our kids,” said Ulrich.
Medical sales would be unchanged but days after placing the signs, Ulrich says someone vandalized them.
“This is on all our signs that were put up, they were either vandalized or they were stolen,” said Ulrich.
Ulrich doesn’t believe the ‘No on 15-157 campaign’ or Shady Cove dispensaries had anything to do with the vandalism. Even so, he’s discouraged by the act.
“The neighbors and people are in favor of this ban but scared to come out because of just what’s happening, stolen signs, vandalism,” said Ulrich.
Ashland, Talent and Phoenix already allow sales. Resident there will vote on an additional 3% sales tax on marijuana sales. Medford has a similar ballot measure in 15-145.
“If we are allowed to conduct recreational retail sales, then 3% of every sale will go to the cities general fund,” said Bearnson.
If 15-144 passes in Medford, there will be no extra funds, even if 15-145 passes, because there will be no marijuana sales to tax. the same goes for the other cities proposing a ban.
“If the Measure is defeated to permit them, then the tax is a moot point,” said Humphrey.
Each city with it’s own arguments on either side of the issue.
“Vote yes and control our future on proposition 15-157,” said Ulrich.
“I’d like to see the majority of citizens in Medford vote no on Measure 15-144 and enrich our community,” said Bearnson.
The final decision left up to the will of the voters.
“We await with bated breath, the outcome of the election,” said Humphrey.
Grants Pass residents will also have their chance to vote on banning all sales. Josephine County as a whole will vote on a 3% tax.
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