MMJ Influence: Groups Say Medical Cannabis Was Big Factor in Oregon AG Race

If you’re wondering whether the medical marijuana community has enough political clout to sway an election, look to Oregon.

Two pro-MMJ groups and a wealthy executive who supports medical cannabis appear to have had a hand in the decisive victory of Ellen Rosenblum in the Democratic primary for the state attorney general position.

While it’s unclear exactly how big of a role medical marijuana played in the final outcome, this could serve as a case study for how medical cannabis groups can organize to lobby effectively for industry-friendly candidates and legislation.

Drug Policy Action, Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement and Apollo Group Chairman John Sperling funneled a combined $190,000 into Rosenblum’s campaign, or roughly 32% of the total amount she raised. Other MMJ professionals and organizations contributed to the campaign in unofficial ways, pumping money into ads attacking Rosenblum’s opponent – Dwight Holton – for his stance on medical cannabis.

The two Democratic candidates hold different positions on medical marijuana. Holton supported recent raids on Oregon dispensaries and cultivation operations and said the state’s MMJ laws are a train wreck. Rosenblum indicated that she would take a more hands-off approach to the industry, though she has cited the need to reexamine and revise the state’s medical cannabis regulations.

As with any attorney general race, a variety of issues came into play in determining the winner. But medical marijuana groups are claiming that MMJ was one of the biggest. Bob Wolfe, a director of Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, told the Associated Press that he thinks Holton’s defeat “is directly related to his stance on marijuana.”

There’s a good chance Rosenblum will become Oregon’s next attorney general, as no Republican challenger emerged by the deadline. That’s good news for the Oregon medical marijuana industry and shows that MMJ advocates can be a force when organized effecitvely.