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New Approach to Oregon's call for action on the JoCo lawsuit

Josephine County Commissioners are wasting limited resources and the tax dollars of hard-working Oregonians in a futile attempt to overturn the will of the voters in federal court. 


Josephine County is following in the footsteps of Nebraska and Oklahoma by asking the United States' government to overturn a voter-passed cannabis legalization law in federal court. Nebraska and Oklahoma lost when trying to overturn Colorado's legalization law. Unfortunately, Josephine County is trying to go a step further and invalidate the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act as well.


It is a shame that Josephine County Commissioners are wasting limited resources and taxpayer dollars on a lengthy federal court case when Oregon has instituted reasonable regulations that deter the illegal market while bringing jobs and revenue to our state. While the federal government is free to enforce federal law, the people of Oregon are not under any obligation to continue the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition.


Josephine County residents recently were forced to enact a tax increase to help fund public safety services, as only a few state patrol officers were responsible for monitoring rural roads. Just 5 years ago, the country received unwanted notoriety when people were formed volunteer groups to help protect citizens and a 911 dispatcher tragically told a woman about to be attacked that budget cuts prevented any law enforcement officers from helping her.


The anti-commandeering doctrine should prevent Josephine Country from relying upon federal law to overturn Oregon's marijuana laws. As Vanderbilt Law Professor Robert Mikos, opined in a law review article, "States may continue to legalize marijuana because Congress has not preempted – and more importantly, may not preempt – state laws that merely permit (i.e. refuse to punish) private conduct the federal government deems objectionable." 


While no one knows the future, the Supreme Court's refusal to overturn Colorado's legalization law provides a persuasive case that Josephine County will be unsuccessful relying upon the federal Controlled Substances Act to overturn Measure 91 and Measure 67. However, what is clear is that Josephine County, and the state of Oregon, will have to use valuable resources and tax dollars to litigate this issue in a case that could go on for years, potentially all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. 


So what now?


Make your voices heard, especially if you live in Josephine County as your tax dollars are being impacted the most, as the case will waste both local and state resources. 




Email the Josephine County Commissioners (Daniel DeYoung, Lily Morgan, and Simon Hare) at


Call them at 541.474.5221 and respectfully request that the Board of Commissioners end this futile and wasteful attempt to invalidate Oregon's medical and recreational cannabis laws.


Keep the faith. While it can be difficult to see our state's cannabis laws attacked and threatened, know that we have the people on our side and we grow stronger each and every day. Continue to speak out to your local, state and federal representatives until our cannabis laws are protected and implemented in a way that takes care of patients, consumers, and Oregon businesses. 


Thank you,


Anthony Johnson

New Approach Oregon  

Earlier Event: April 4
JoCo Federal case information
Later Event: April 10
MJ dispute pits count against State