Marijuana on the Ballot in Five States in November

Even though the effort to legalize and regulate marijuana in California in 2010 ended with a massive bummer of a vote, other states aren’t giving up. Marijuana-related initiatives are scheduled for the ballot in Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Julian Brookes over at Rolling Stone focuses on the legalization initiatives in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon (whose initiative was just approved for the ballot last week):

Of the three states where legalization is up for a vote in November – Colorado, Washington, and Oregon – Colorado "is definitely the best shot so far," says Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national lobby group that's kicking in about $1 million to support the measure. Under Amendment 64, the state would treat pot like alcohol – licenses for producers and sellers, 21-plus age restriction for buyers, and tax revenue government. Should it pass – and one poll has support up by 61-27 – "We're hoping the federal government will not impose its will," says Fox, "and that there'll be an adult conversation about what Colorado has decided to do."

In Massachusetts, voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. Voters in the state already decriminalized possessing an ounce or less of marijuana in 2008.

Montana’s medical marijuana referendum is a bit of an odd duck (Montana probably wouldn’t have it any other way). Montana voters already approved medical marijuana use back in 2004. Subsequently, state legislators, showing the kind deference to their citizens’ wishes that would make California politicians jealous, tried to repeal it. Their efforts made it all the way to the governor’s desk, but he vetoed it.

Another bill was introduced in 2011 that would kill the old initiative but this time replace it with new guidelines that would permit medical marijuana use with much stricter regulations. With the Montana Medical Marijuana Veto Referendum, voters will decide whether to keep the new, tougher regulations (by voting yes) or keep the 2004 rules (by voting no). That sounds like a nice, confusing vote.

More from Reason about marijuana, including wondering whether the Department of Justice’s crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in Colorado will cost President Barack Obama votes.  Polls show Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson currently drawing 7 percent of the vote in the Centennial State.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • benji||

    Isn't marijuana illegal at the federal level? How can it be on the ballot?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Because states have their own laws against it?

  • BradForrester||

    Yes it is, and the passage of any of these initiatives, or the ones to legalize cannabis in Detroit and Flint Michigan, will setup a confrontation with the federal government. This is the politics of prohibition.

  • Paul.||

    Where da gun control thread at?

  • ||

    Paul, what do you think the chances are that ours passes here? As with seemingly all ballot initiatives, it seems like it's probably going to be about 50/50.

  • Paul.||

    Is there a GC initiative up for Seattle/Washington? Please provide link. I'm not aware of anything except for idle chatter from reporters who live in Madison Valley and bike to work.

  • ||

    I meant the marijuana one, goofball.

  • Paul.||

    Oh... my bad.

    Yeah, I don't know if I have a strong opinion. I've seen a number of MJ initiatives fail going quite a number of years back. I think though that in today's climate it's got a better chance given some recent victories.

    The problem is the feds. Look at what happened with Gregoire and some of the counties freaking out over the recent threats from the Obama administration and the current set of Medical MJ laws we had pass.

  • R C Dean||

    The problem is the feds.

    So true. Still a pot ref passing is a good thing, even if its blocked. Its one of those little ironies that governors who will stand up (even at a presser) to the feds are in states that will be last in line to legalize pot, while the states at the front of that line have the most craven governors.

  • Paul.||

    I like this on 502, though:

    I-502 is leading by a 50-37 percent margin, according to Public Policy Polling, a lead that is built on an unusual three-legged stool of support from young voters, male voters and a libertarian-minded chunk of Republican voters.

    Young people, libertarians and males. So that leaves older educated Democrats and women out... should I be surprised? I think not. Thanks, Mom.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    But dunphy told us that Washington is a mecca for gun owners!! He can't be wrong on such a critical issue!!

    All ribbing aside, I was under the impression that WA was solid on RKBA.

  • ||

    I meant the marijuana one, goofball.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Derp. My bad.

  • Paul.||

    Episiarch chose his reply poorly. I trust it won't happen again.

    *looks over halfsies*

  • Paul.||

    Washington is a good state for Gun Owners.

    Dunphy is actually correct in that for such a blue-assed state, it's got very liberal gun laws... as they exist on the books.

    However, I dare you, I double-dog dare you to open carry in downtown seattle and not get, at minimum your day ruined by cops, and at maximum killed.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Washington and Oregon are weird.

    From the Cascades on westward, both states are blue as they come. East of the cascades is high desert country with a lot of conservatives.

  • alex griggs||

    It will be interesting to see what happens if one of these passes -- and I think it's likely that Colorado will at the least -- and Romney wins in November. I can see him taking a hands-off, "let the States decide it" approach that will drive liberals up the wall. What will they say then when Obama was responsible cracking down on medical MJ and "ultra right wing conservative facist" Romney says live and let live?

  • SIV||

    Wanna bet?

  • Zeb||

    I'd be really surprised if Romney does anything different on Federal marijuana policy. Not going to happen.

  • ||

    I would love it if this were true.

    But it aint gonna happen, and I'd lay 2-1 against it.

  • BradForrester||

    Romney will fight medical marijuana tooth and nail.. on tape!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTbAI4sP0M

  • ||

    I'm curious why 1 oz remains some sort of magic threshold of evil. If you're going to go to the extent that this bill does to legalize it, why bake in a 1 oz limit?

    Also of note, it's interesting that the producers must be licensed, although it doesn't explicitly state they must be licensed by Colorado, maybe there's some legalese that implies that. In any event, does this mean that if a second state legalizes, that producers in that state would have to apply for a Colorado license in order to sell to Coloradans?

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm curious why 1 oz remains some sort of magic threshold of evil.

    Less than an ounce and the odds of your being a dealer are low.

    Smoking the stuff is OK, selling it (PROFITS!) is bad.

  • ||

    And what exactly is the profit margin for reselling legal marijuana in-state?

  • sarcasmic||

    Federal prison?

  • ||

    Huge, if you're growing it.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Funny thing is, legalizing domestic sale would do much more to alleviate the violence than legalizing personal consumption.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Prohibition-related violence, in case that wasn't clear.

  • Paul.||

    Why Gary Johnson could cost Obama or Romney a win in 2012

    I haven't read the article yet. But that's a strange headline. Yes, something is going to cost either Romney or Obama the win. One of those two candidates will lose come November.

    But add Gary Johnson to the mix, and Johnson’s 7% support in Colorado pulls almost equally from both candidates, dragging Obama down to 47 percent and Romney to 39.

    That's pretty weak tea. My guess is he's going to hurt Romney far more than Obama.

  • BakedPenguin||

    In one New Mexico poll, GJ was pulling more votes 'from' Obama than Romney.

  • Paul.||

    New Mexico is an outlier because Gay Jay is a local boy. He's got homefield advantage there. New Mexico is a largely democratic state, so it goes to reason that Obama would shed votes to the local boy made good.

  • SIV||

    Gay Jay was elected twice by appealing to NM Democrats.My impression is they aren't like most other Democrats.

  • Zeb||

    "Gay Jay"? You're really going to stick with that?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    When did Gary Johnson become gay?

  • Paul.||

    New Mexico Democrats aren't like most democrats.

    I was born and raised there.

    However, in national politics, they will vote blue. Local politics, Democrats have to kind of walk and talk a little more conservative. Hence Gary Johnson as the governor.

    There's a very high hispanic population in New Mexico, and so that causes the Democrat-ness of the state to skew a little conservative. Hispanic populations tend to be very family oriented and lean heavily toward traditional values. That has made them a great potential constituency for Republicans, but the GOP has become so functionally retarded as of late, they have all but come out and said, "Fuck you, Latinos, get out of our tent."

    Zeb: Yes, I can't help myself. It just flows.

    And I'm voting for him, so no hate there.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Obama doesn't need his help, Romney is going to get creamed. RNC could fuck up a wet dream.

  • Libertymike||

    Mariujuana is on my lips as I type this post.

  • Paul.||

    I thought it was on the ballot. I haz confuze.

  • Sevo||

    Doesn't matter; Obozo will sic the DoJ on 'em anyhow.

  • SKR||

    I would love for Montana to be the first state to legalize it. The repetition would be amazing.

  • ||

    If only that was on the ballot...

  • CE||

    And remind people to vote for Gary Johnson when they're voting for these initiatives.

  • alittlesense||

    If marijuana is on the ballot, can I smoke the ballot?

  • perlhaqr||

    "We're hoping the federal government will not impose its will," says Fox, "and that there'll be an adult conversation about what Colorado has decided to do."

    That's some serious optimism. I want some of whatever he's smoking. ;)

  • Mr. FIFY||

    States... setting their own policies?

    That sounds like "states' rights", which is leftistcode for "racism".

    Even when it isn't.

  • NeonCat||

    That's when it's most pernicious! States will legalize cannabis so they can repass Jim Crow laws because African-American voters and young people who would vote against such a thing will be too stoned to go to the poles.

    It's devious, I tells ya.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Good theory, although Jim Crow is beyond even the reanimation skills of the Top. Men. of the zombie-creating voodoo community.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement