What is measure 80 going to do, in simple terms?
If approved by voters, measure 80 will legalize and tax cannabis use for adults, and impose specific penalties on selling or giving to minors. Personal use and possession will be completely allowed without restriction for those 21 and older. Selling it will require a license, similar to alcohol sales in Oregon.
Isn't it true that Oregon doesn't have many people in prison solely for marijuana possession? Will measure 80 really matter that much to our prisons?
This does appear to be true - measure 80 probably wouldn't make a significant difference in possession-only inmate population. However, we aren't finding a lot of great information about other cannabis-related crimes, such as "manufacturing", where there is no violence involved. Possession isn't the only non-violent crime that measure 80 seeks to abolish.
Additionally, measure 80 would make it so that very few police resources are spent on cannabis at all. Though there are very few prisoners in jail for possession, there are still many arrests which lead to other consequences.
The pro-legalization crowd would have you believe that we could free up police resources for fighting other crimes, but the actual number of cannabis-related arrests is fairly small in Oregon, accounting for only 4-5% of all arrests statewide. However, the anti-legalization crowd keeps spouting off the prisoner population of "one half of a percent", and that number is also misleading, because it doesn't account for the total number of arrests, nor the prisoners put in jail for manufacturing and distributing.
Isn't it dangerous to allow adults over 21 to possess any amount of cannabis without limits? Doesn't this make it too easy to sell to kids in bulk?
This is a difficult question to answer, but it seems to come down to treating marijuana just like alcohol. There's also the question of assuming guilt based on inferred intent, versus proving that a crime took place.
In theory, one could go to a liquor store half a mile from a high school, buy 50 bottles of vodka, drive up to the high school, and sell it in bulk. There is no limit on buying the alcohol, so even though the action of buying so much is odd, it isn't itself grounds for arrest. The same would be true of cannabis: possession, even in large quantities, doesn't mean intent to distribute.
Current laws tend to use quantity (as well as other factors) to determine punishment by assuming intent. For instance, in Oregon, having one ounce is a small $500 to $1000 fine, but increase that amount by even a gram, and you're looking at a felony and jail time. This is because of the assumption that if you have more than an ounce, you're likely to be a dealer. In some places, having separate bags containing the cannabis is an automatic "intent to distribute", which can carry huge penalties. Laws like this try to predict crimes rather than waiting for a crime to happen and punishing it then.
Isn't it true that cannabis is completely non-addictive?
"Addiction" is a tricky subject, and cannabis is addictive in a technical sense. However, it is better to look at dependence and abuse rather than "addiction", because a thing may not be inherently addictive, but can still be abused. Plenty of people who drink alcohol are not addicted in the strictest sense, but drink enough that it affects their everyday life. Plenty of people are technically addicted to caffeine, but they get their fix daily and the addiction is never even noticeable.
Bottom line: anything can be abused, including cannabis, and anything enjoyable can become a dependency. It's true that cannabis is less habit-forming than many other "vices", but one should avoid claiming that it's completely safe at the same time.