By Mike Meno
About one-third of “unlikely” voters in Oregon said they were more enthusiastic and more likely to vote after learning that a medical marijuana initiative was on their state’s ballot this year, according to a new survey released today by the measure’s campaign. Measure 74 – which has been endorsed by the Oregon state Democratic Party – would add state-licensed dispensaries to Oregon’s existing medical marijuana law.
According to the survey, which polled a random sampling of under-40, Democratic and independent voters, 31% of respondents said they were more likely to vote after hearing that Measure 74 was on the ballot, while only 18% were more enthusiastic after hearing about the contest between their state’s candidates for governor.
These findings add further merit to the argument many have made in the run-up to Nov. 2 – that marijuana initiatives could be the key to increasing youth voter turnout in this and future elections. Once mainstream political candidates acknowledge that there is a large and growing constituency of voters who want to see our marijuana laws change, it will hopefully be just a matter of time until they begin to embrace marijuana reform as a major issue that’s in their own best interests to endorse.
As Jon Walker points out, in Oregon’s 1998 election, more total votes were cast for Measure 67, the medical marijuana initiative, than for any other statewide candidate or ballot measure.