Rethinking Pot Oregon Legislation
Anthony Johnson, front, director of New Approach Oregon, and other supporters of legalizing marijuana are shown this summer turning in enough signatures to place Measure 91 on Oregon’s November ballot. (Chad Garland/Associated Press)
The campaign for Oregon’s marijuana legalization measure this weekend reported receiving another $ 800,000 from two out-of-state groups tied to wealthy donors.
Drug Policy Action, which has received major funding from billionaire currency trader George Soros, contributed $ 500,000 to the Yes on 91 campaign. Separately, New Approach PAC, a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee tied to the family of the late billionaire Peter Lewis, gave $ 300,000 to the Measure 91 effort. Both contributions were reported just before midnight Friday.
Drug Policy Action is the political arm of a New York City-based group, Drug Policy Alliance, that played a major role in helping write the Oregon initiative and was also involved in the 2012 legalization drives in Colorado and Washington.
All told, Drug Policy Action has reported giving $ 1.85 million to the Oregon marijuana legalization effort since 2013 while the Drug Policy Alliance itself gave another $ 50,000.
New Approach PAC, which has given a total of $ 1.25 million to the Oregon legalization campaign, was formed this year by family members of Lewis, the billionaire insurance magnate who supported numerous pro-marijuana causes before his death a year ago. The group has also received contributions from other donors.
The Yes on 91 campaign has reported spending more than $ 1.1 million on TV and radio advertising so far, part of what the campaign has said is an ad buy of more than $ 2 million for the fall. Opponents of the measure have just one major donor — the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, which has given $ 145,000 — and are not airing ads on TV.
— Jeff Mapes