CRESWELL, Ore. (AP) — Protesters staged a rush-hour demonstration against a pro-marijuana measure that’s on the ballot next month in Creswell, Oregon.
If approved, marijuana retailers would be allowed in the small town south of Eugene. The Register-Guard reports about 80 protesters stationed themselves at the Interstate 5 exit on Monday, urging passing motorists to keep the prohibition in place.
Creswell voters have already banned marijuana retailers once — 53 percent to 47 percent. But a company seeking to open a shop said the decision was close enough to warrant another vote. The company gathered enough signatures to put the question on the November ballot.
“Nobody thought we’d be out here and have to vote again,” said Kevin Prociw, a protest organizer.
In addition to being near a heavily traveled road, the protest location was outside the office of One Gro Investment Group. The company co-founded by Mike Arnold, a high-profile Eugene defense attorney, is spearheading the drive to allow retailers.
If the measure passes, the company plans to put a marijuana shop on Oregon Avenue, said One Gro Chief Executive Dan Isaacson. One Gro already has two marijuana farms in Lane County, he said, and intends to have its headquarters in Creswell.
Prociw said he commutes daily by bus to Eugene from Creswell and started talking with fellow commuters about the issue of retail marijuana. He now serves as campaign manager for a pair of political action committees — “Keep It Creswell” and “No to One Gro.”
“I said if we don’t want this happening in Creswell, we’ll have to do something,” he said.
One Gro has its own political action committee, called “Jobs and Freedom,” which has raised more than $30,000, according to state records. Opponents have raised less than $5,000.
Isaacson said the bulk of the money spent by One Gro went to staff and signature gathering. He and fellow One Gro workers delivered bottles of water to protesters Monday, saying the company supports conversation about marijuana sales.
“Anytime more people get out, the better,” Isaacson said.