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Jackson County GMO issue Measure 15-119 – lots of emotion, few facts

The ballot measure in Jackson County, Oregon to ban GMO crops is a most confusing issue to face voters in this election. According to Reuters, six major chemical companies have poured nearly $500,000 into defeating the campaign, while the proponents have a mere $102,000 in their coffers. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate, Jackson County, in southwest Oregon, has 208,545 people. That is a lot of money to influence a small amount of voters.

GMO protesters invade a farm in England
GMO protesters invade a farm in England
Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images

There is no scientific evidence that GMO is harmful or not harmful. The little research available is inconclusive and many of the studies have been performed by interested parties, rather than objective sources. It comes down to emotional decisions on both sides.

The vote no side is using emotional gimmicks to sway opinion; everything from the libraries to the sheriff’s department in Jackson County will suffer if this measure goes through. If it will cost a fortune to enforce the measure, or if it will cost nothing to enforce the measure, it is totally up for grabs with no fact on either side.

County Administrator Danny Jordan, said, “Enforcement of the measure, including a full-time code inspector, time dedicated from a hearings officer, a contractor for testing and other county resources, would cost the county a minimum of $219,000 per year. “

He went on to say “the cost could be nothing, if farmers all comply”. It has also been suggested that the county was under no legal obligation to enforce the GMO ban if Measure 15-119 passes.

Is that another case of disregarding the voters’ decree?

To create even more confusion for the voters, the measure is poorly written and confusing. Remember a few years ago when the Oregon legislature put through a school crossing law that was so convoluted the police department couldn’t even figure it out? This sounds like the same situation with even more costly ramifications.

What to do? Your emotional response is as good as anyone else, so get in there and vote your conscience. To be sure you are registered to vote, go to this link to update your voter registration: http://sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/updatevoterregistration.aspx .

A “no” vote on Measure 15-119 means GMO crops can be grown in Jackson County; a “yes” vote means there are to be no GMO crops in Jackson County.