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Top Oregon expert: vote yes to legalized pot

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Top Oregon expert: vote yes to legalized pot

The former director of Oregon’s Addictions and Mental Health Services is volunteering his time to appear in the “Yes on 91” campaign, urging voters in the state to approve legalized marijuana.

"Criminalizing marijuana ruins lives and wastes resources," said Richard Harris. "Instead of sending people to jail and turning them into hardened criminals, we should treat marijuana as a public health issue and create a system that raises money for prevention programs and mental health programs. Right now, there is no state appropriated money in Oregon for drug and alcohol prevention programs, including for marijuana, but Measure 91 would change that."

Harris, who worked in drug treatment for 30 years, said in a Q&A that the current system around marijuana “isn’t working.”

If the 2014 measure is approved, Oregon would join Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana.

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