Marijuana wins big on election night – Washington Post
(Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives Tuesday night, and several other states passed medical marijuana provisions, in what is turning out to be the biggest electoral victory for marijuana reform since 2012, when Colorado and Washington first approved the drug’s recreational use.
Of the five recreational marijuana initiatives on the ballot, three passed and one more — in Maine — was leading early Wednesday in preliminary vote totals. A similar measure in Arizona was trailing with 68 percent of votes counted.
On the medical side, voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas have approved medical marijuana initiatives. A separate measure in Montana that would loosen restrictions on an existing medical pot law was leading early Wednesday with only 30 percent of votes counted.
Reformers were jubilant. “This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. “With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.”
Five states have marijuana legalization initiatives on their ballots. Here’s what they can learn from Washington, Colorado and Oregon, states where marijuana use has already been legalized. (Daron Taylor,Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)
California has long been seen as a bellwether by both supporters and opponents of marijuana reform. The state is home to about 12 percent of the U.S. population. Given the size of the state’s economy and the economic impact of the marijuana industry there, California’s adoption of legal marijuana could prompt federal authorities to rethink their decades-long prohibition on the use of marijuana.
In a recent interview with Bill Maher, President Obama said that passage of the legalization measures on Tuesday could make the current federal approach to the drug “untenable.”