- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A prominent law enforcement official in Washington state says in ads set to air Tuesday in Oregon that his state’s regulations involving legalized recreational marijuana are working.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he would not presume to tell Oregonians how to vote, but he made the ad for the Yes on 91 campaign so Oregonians would know that since pot was legalized in Washington, “The sky hasn’t fallen.”

He says in the ad that driving under the influence has not risen and money is going to schools and police, not drug cartels.

“Strict regulations are working,” Urquhart says in the ad. “Here it’s really better already. It’s your vote, not mine, but it’s working here.”

Campaign spokesman Peter Zuckerman says the ad would air on TV and online.

Urquhart said in an interview that he is not surprised to be on the opposite side of the issue from his fellow sheriffs in Oregon, because he was in the same position in Washington two years ago, when he endorsed marijuana legalization.

Mandi Puckett, director of the No on 91 campaign, says the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association unanimously voted to oppose Measure 91. She adds the Oregon measure is not the same as Washington’s. The Oregon measure allows people to possess far more marijuana, including home-grown plants.

The campaign to defeat Measure 91 has been primarily financed by the political arm of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, which donated $100,000 of the $168,000 raised by the No on 91 campaign to defeat the measure.

That has gone primarily to a mailing targeting 155,000 mothers from Portland to Eugene, warning them of the dangers that candies and sodas containing marijuana pose to children.

With no money for television ads, the campaign has also focused on speaking to civic clubs and debates with Measure 91 supporters to get their message out.

Like similar measures in Washington state and Colorado, Measure 91 would make it legal for licensed growers, processors and retail outlets to produce marijuana for sale to adults in limited amounts under the regulation of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Marijuana would be taxed, with money going to schools, drug treatment and law enforcement.

Oregon decriminalized marijuana in 1973 and legalized medical marijuana in 1998. An earlier measure to legalize recreational marijuana was defeated.

Oregon police chiefs and district attorneys associations have also come out against legalization of pot.

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