Marijuana on the ballot in Alaska, D.C., Florida, Oregon and Maine

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WASHINGTON, November 3, 2014 — Decriminalization, medical marijuana legalization and general marijuana legalization remain hot-topic issues in the U.S.

Currently 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and two states allow recreational marijuana states. Several states with legal medical marijuana also have decriminalized recreational marijuana use, and some states have decriminalized marijuana possession but not allowed medical marijuana.

This midterm, Alaska, D.C., Florida, Oregon and Maine will vote on changes to their existing marijuana laws.

Alaska will vote on whether to legalize recreational use. Alaska legalized medical marijuana in 1998, and has decriminalized personal marijuana use. The new measure would allow retail sales of marijuana and allow the state to tax and regulate marijuana sales. Adults over 21 would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia would also be legal.  Four polls between May 2014 and October 2014 showed that on average, 48.05% support the bill while 46.43% oppose and 5.8% are undecided.


Washington, DC residents are likely to pass initiative 71, which would allow adults over 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to six plants. Medical marijuana is already legal in D.C., and decriminalization made possession a civil violation rather than a criminal violation, carrying at $25 fine.

However, pundits warn that if Initiative 71 passes, it will set up a major fight with the federal government. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and there is likely to be a backlash against legalizing the drug in the nations capital.

Although polls show that a majority of Floridians support medical marijuana, the vote requires a change to the constitution, which would need 60% support, making passage uncertain. Republican governor Rick Scott approved a bill effectively legalizing “Charlotte’s Web,” a strain of cannibis without psychoactive ingredients, to tret epilepsy, but opposes medical marijuana. His opponent in the mud-slinging governor’s race, Charlie Christ, supports it. Moreover, major billionaires have dumped massive funding into both sides of the issue. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson spent $5 million against the measure, while attorney John Morgan spent about $4 million supporting it.

A day before the vote, the Florida outcome is too close to call.

Two Maine cities are voting whether to follow the lead of Portland in legalizing recreational marijuana. Lewiston, Maine and South Portland, Maine are expected to pass bills that will essentially allow adults over 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces.

Oregon, which failed to pass legalized marijuana laws in 2012, is expected to pass “controlled legalization” this time, although the vote is still likely to be close. The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana at home and one ounce in public. The state, through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, would regulate and monitor the marijuana industry. Taxes from the sale of marijuana would go toward law enforcement, schools and drug education.

One of the biggest watchers of the Oregon vote is Washington, where recreational marijuana is already legal. The marijuana business in that state is concerned that high supply and low prices in Oregon could undercut the Washington industry if the measure passes.

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  • knowa1

    EVERY BODY JUST SHOW UP AND VOTE YES ON 2

  • Malcolm Lewis Barnes

    Lisa,

    Here’s a piece I posted on the Wash Times “Communities Page” a week ago. I thought I would share it with your readers since I can’t get anyone from CDN to publish my DC RUNDOWN content!

    PROP 71 MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION BALLOT IS A SLAM DUNK FOR PASSAGE ACCORDING TO OPPONENTS & SUPPORTERS ALIKE

    By Malcolm Lewis Barnes

    At a Community Forum on Marijuana Legalization
    hosted by the JOBS Coalition, the consensus of a panel of distinguished experts
    from the law enforcement, drug policy, and health and wellness community was
    that PROP 71 is going to pass and that the community should gird itself for a
    legislative and enforcement battle that will pit the lack luster and indecisive
    DC Council against Congress.

    This is the same City Council that will turn
    over more than a third of its seats as two sitting council members vie to be
    the next Mayor, and sat on critical legislative implementation such as the
    ballot initiative to elect the Attorney General until they were success sued to
    place the AG’s position on the ballot by the leading candidate and potential
    future Chief Prosecutor of drug offenders.

    Buried on page 55 of the Voter’s Guide that was
    distributed this week by the Board of Elections, is “Initiative Measure #71,
    ;Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use
    Act of 2014”, where the summary statement says if passed it will be unlawful
    for a person under21 to: [1] possess up to 2 ounces for personal use; [2] grow
    more than six plants within a personal residence; [3] transfer without payment
    up to one ounce to another person over 21; and
    [4[ use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use, growing, or processing
    of marijuana.