University goes green with Oregon’s Great Pot Debate

Portland State and KATU will host Oregon’s Great Pot Debate tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. in Lincoln Performance Hall. This event allows panel and audience members to participate in a discussion regarding the upcoming measure to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon.

The topic has sparked national debate, passionate supporters and widespread opposition. If the bill is passed, Oregon will join Colorado and Washington as the third state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Representatives from the Vanguard, Willamette Week and The Oregonian will serve on the news media panel.

Speaking on behalf of the pro-legalization side will be Richard Harris, former director of Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Services, as well as Inge Fryklund, a former prosecutor and legal consultant with the U.S. State Department and Armed Forces.

Josh Marquis, Clatsop County district attorney, and Dr. Ron Schwerzler, medical services director for Serenity Lane drug and alcohol treatment center, will be the representatives on the opposing side.

This event is part of PSU Convenes, a series of discussions centered around current issues in the community.

Scott Gallagher, director of communications at PSU said, “It’s the role of the university to provide an opportunity to discuss contentious issues…the goal [of the event] is to provide an informed, balanced debate.”

In the past, the PSU Convenes series covered the Portland mayoral debate and financial aid. This year, marijuana legalization was chosen due to its importance not only in the PSU community, but in the entire state of Oregon.

Marijuana legalization is a policy issue as well as a community health issue, and the breadth of its significance to the campus spans across multiple departments and disciplines. Students and other community members who attend are invited to participate in the dialogue.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to be able to come and participate in a discussion that will affect them—not only as students, but as Oregonians,” Gallagher said.

Tickets to the event are free, but must be reserved online as space is limited to 460 people.

The first hour of the debate will be broadcast live on KATU. The full debate will stream on KATU’s website, as well as Oregon Live. It will be rebroadcasted on KATU on Sunday at 9 a.m.