The sponsors of the legalization initiative, Measure 91, had criticized picking the former White House drug adviser as a keynote speaker. Sabet was also planning to appear in 12 other Oregon cities as part of an “Oregon Marijuana Education Tour” following the Madras summit. After ballot supporters raised the issue of a possible conflict, Sabet said he would not talk about the ballot measure at either the Madras event or on the tour.
Rick Treleaven, the executive director of BestCare Treatment Practices and the organizer of the Madras summit, conceded that there could be an appearance of a conflict, the Oregonian reported. Organizers of the other events are also using federal funds to help defray their expenses.
Anthony Johnson, chief sponsor of the marijuana legalization measure, said the anti-marijuana groups had placed a heavy focus on marijuana during the summit and that the tour smacked of electioneering using federal money — even if participants did not specifically discuss the initiative.
“Federal taxpayer dollars should not be used to influence an election,” said Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for the campaign. “Calling this an educational campaign is ridiculous.”