Currently in Oregon there are two hot topic measures that seem to be drawing in record amounts of voters from all walks of life. One is Measure 91, which is basically the legalization of recreational cannabis for adults 21 and over; it allows the possession, manufacture, sale of marijuana by/to adults, subject to state licensing, regulation and taxation. The second is Measure 92, the GMO-food labeling bill; it requires food manufacturers, retailers to label “genetically engineered” foods as such; state, citizens enforce.

These two issues are very important to me as I am a huge advocate for the ending of cannabis prohibition; I am also strongly against genetically modified organisms, especially in our food chain. 

I had the chance to have a surprisingly agreeable conversation with Oregon State Senate libertarian party candidate Mike Montchalin from Pendleton Oregon about these two bills and the war on drugs among other current Oregon politics:

Brandon Krenzler- You are part of the Libertarian Party, What in your view is a libertarian?

Mike Montchalin- The Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 in opposition to the War in Vietnam, and in opposition to Nixon’s Wage & Price Controls.  Libertarian party origins are a split in the Republican Party.  In essence it is a split between those who are going to make us do what they think is good for us -and- those who are not so presumptuous as to think we know what is good for other people.

Bk- What ultimately led you step off the citizen sidelines and run for office as an Oregon State Senator?

MM- I view myself as backup plan and am willing to fill in where needed.  I had no idea I would be near the top of the ticket.  I was asked by a couple of big shots in the Libertarian Party of Oregon. It was the day before the Libertarian Primary, so I asked my wife if she thought it was a good idea, she said “yes.”  So I said, “Yes.”

Bk- What is your position on Measure 88? Driving privileges with requiring proof of legal presence in the USA?

MM- I think 88 is Driving Card, just in the state of Oregon without Documentation. I AM FOR IT. I do not like things that enlarge the government, or add to its complexity, or adds lines of print in the law.  But this is about people who are undocumented and in many cases have families, jobs, and homes.  So I generally will bend in the direction of compassion.

Bk- Oregon’s Measure 91 would allow the possession, manufacture and sale of Cannabis to adults 21 and over. What is your official position on Measure 91?

MM- This measure is k like the Drivers Card Measure in the sense that I don’t like more laws, more regulation.  I don’t like the government getting rich off of taxation of cannabis.  In spite of all of these bad things about the measure, I am bending towards compassion and hope it keeps people out of jail… or out of prison.

Bk- How are you going to vote on measure 91?

MM- I will vote yes on it.  Unfortunately my vote won’t count any more than anyone else’s….

Bk- If you were elected as Oregon Senator, would you support the ending of federal cannabis prohibition?

MM- OH yes!  I would support the end of cannabis prohibition.

Bk- Do you have a statement about the War on Drugs as a whole?

MM- You know, some people act as though legalization, or decriminalization, means they have to use it.  That is not so.  For instance I do not use marijuana.  Even so, I can see the injustice of this War on drugs which even includes marijuana. All it means is the government can’t jail people for growing, distributing, using, etc. Yes; I oppose the entire war on drugs.  If that war went away, Mexico will return to being a very safe place. If the war on drugs does not go away, America will become a very violent place as the country is divided up into profit centers. On a side note, about “regulation” it is amazing to me how the Cannabis world has changed since the sixties and all of these “things” have been discovered.

Bk- Measure 92- would require food manufacturers/retailers to label GMO foods.  What are your feelings about this Measure?

MM- The problem with GMOs is that the companies contaminating fields and non-GMO plants are being held harmless by existing legislation.  I do not feel comfortable, myself. MY thinking is that the government overseeing labeling is not trustworthy.  So it has to be the market place that demands GMO free food.So I am against GMO labeling just because I don’t want government oversight and thing the market will deal with it. I have a real problem with thing & think.

Bk- Do you feel that the average consumer may better equip themselves to demand gmo free, by opting out of purchasing based upon labeling?

MM- Well, I’m thinking of an example: say taco shells.  Say it is labeled GMO-free in a regulated world, I do not know if we can trust the label, the government regulators, or if the fines would be REAL, or just a cost of business. I am Leary of relegating oversight to the government, or to the manufacturer.  The best watchdog would be the consumer. When I think back to the 1960s, it wasn’t the government that declared the Ford Pinto “Unsafe at Any Speed,” it was Ralph Nader, a non-governmental Consumer advocate.

Bk- On Oregon public radio it was discussed that this year’s election has gained the highest amount of newly registered voters than ever before, even stating a number as high as 50,000 from September to October. Do you think that measure 91 and 92 are behind the increase?

M- 91 & 92 could very well be the reason for an influx of new voters, but the State spent a lot of money sending out “update your voter registration” postcards.  As a result of that, as a result of me updating my registration, they sent me two ballots.  Of course I will only use one! It would be nice to take a real life survey to see if people registered for the purpose of voting 91 or 92.  I know people who it is really important to.

Bk- What are some of your goals as a Senator?

MM- I am anti-war from way back, and always have been. 1) End American Aggression 2) Close down a lot of the Federal Agencies and Institutions that make life miserable for everyone. 3) More than 50% of the land in Oregon is under Federal Ownership and (mismanagement) I would like it transferred over into state ownership. 4) I am Free-Market and would like to get rid of all of the non-market subsidies and taxes and incentives. 5) Way too many people are in prison.  Vices are not crimes.  A lot of people need to be freed.  What I accomplish will depend on the number of Libertarians that get elected.

My vote is yes on measure 91 and measure 92. Vote yes on matters that benefit others- vote with compassion.


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