Ballot Initiative of the Day: Will Recreational Marijuana Get the Green Light in Three States?

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If you live in Colorado, Washington or Oregon, your state may soon be the first in the nation to allow possession of marijuana—in limited quantities—for recreational use. It all depends on what happens Nov. 6.

Pot is no stranger to the ballot in Colorado, where smokers consume more than two million ounces of marijuana each year and the state spends more than $40 million annually enforcing its prohibition. A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana failed 59% to 41% in 2006, six years after a referendum approved medical marijuana for use in the state. This year, cannabis advocates filed eight different petitions to legalize marijuana for recreational use under the state’s constitution, a proposal whose fate voters will decide on Election Day.

Supporters argue that a regulated marijuana market would yield an economic boon. An August report from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that the amendment could generate $60 million from criminal cost savings and new tax revenue. Proponents plan that the first $40 million generated would go toward the state’s school construction fund, which would help create nearly 400 new jobs. “Regulating marijuana like alcohol will take sales out of the hands of cartels and gangs and put them in the hands of legitimate Colorado businesses,” says Mason Tvert, co-chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which has out-fundraised its opponents nearly four to one. “The question is whether we would prefer it be strictly controlled and sold by licensed businesses in a regulated market, or whether we want to continue with the current system in which it is strictly uncontrolled and sold by criminals in the underground market.”

Coloradoans favor marijuana legalization 48% to 43%, according to a recent Denver Post poll, down slightly from a 51% to 40% lead last month. Much of the new resistance comes from women, who flipped from supporting the measure 49% to 39%, to opposing it 48% to 40%. “Amending Colorado’s Constitution to make our state the marijuana capital of the US is wrong for our kids and our economy,” says Laura Chapin, communications director for Smart Colorado, one of the main groups challenging the proposed amendment.

Washington also has a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot—and supporters of the measure led in a recent poll 54% to 38%. The Washington initiative, like Colorado’s, would treat marijuana like alcohol at new state-licensed marijuana stores; users would have to be over 21 and purchases would be limited to one ounce. Oregon is attempting to pass a similar measure, but polling indicates it is less likely to succeed: opposition leads support 43% to 36%.

If any of the recreational marijuana measures pass, federal authorities have indicated they would likely initiate a challenge. US Deputy Attorney General James Cole told 60 Minutes that the Justice Department would continue to watch for “dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana” and if so, “we’re going to go after those dangers.” Federal prosecutors cracked down on medical marijuana in California last year, closing hundreds of dispensaries.

Medical marijuana is making three ballot appearances this year, in Massachusetts, Arkansas and Montana. (Montana voters approved a medical marijuana law in 2004, and this new measure would repeal it to create a new marijuana program.) California—the first state to make medical marijuana legal after voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996—attempted to more broadly legalize pot on the 2010 ballot, but the vote fell short. Medical marijuana use is currently legal in seventeen states and the District of Columbia.

28 comments
caseumissedit
caseumissedit

Citizens in the states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington have a chance to improve their lives as well as those in the states of , Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa, the Mexican states where the cartels will be hit hardest by legalization. It would be a giant step towards ending the failed policy of prohibition which has cost millions of lives and billions of dollars - http://theendisalwaysnear.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-audacity-of-dope.html

Hemporer
Hemporer

If you would like to lend money to a medical marijuana center in Colorado and you would like to generate a meaningful return on that loan, please contact me at: mmjviceroy at g mail. We need kind people to step in and help where the banks will not. we are paying 10% to 30% on short term operational loans. Please help us help patients, if you can. mmjviceroy at g mail.

Paulpot
Paulpot

People of Colorado and Washington, you are going to save us all from the horror of the drug war.The world's police are no more than gangster thugs protecting the worlds worst criminal racket.We are told we need prohibition to rid the world of drugs, so why are there more drugs on the street every day and drugs that are more synthetic, impure and dangerous?Prohibition has only enhanced the policing and military industries at the expense of minority communities and the poor the world over.All the current wars, immigration problems, economic crisis, you name it, all stem from our governments completely incompetent, corrupt and inhuman misuse of public resources in fighting the drug war.Thank goodness our forefathers left us with truly democratic mechanisms that allow the voter the opportunity to end this living hell we all endure.If you live in a state with a marijuana ballot initiative this Nov 6 you have the chance to be real life super heroes and save thousands of lives, end world wars, remove funding from militia's and terrorists, heal the sick, comfort the dying, put money back into rural communities and put the whole world economy back on track.How sad it is that the people have to do a job that our politicians should have done years ago but thank goodness we are able to do it at all.Once any state in the US ends prohibition other nations drowning in blood and debt will legalize because America did and prohibition will come crashing down like a Berlin Wall because it will be totally obvious that everything these rotten murderers ever said about drugs and prohibition was a total lie.Vote to legalize where ever you are.War is Over!2012!

dancinfool
dancinfool

which candidate is in support of legalization?

syperium9
syperium9

Laura Chapin is living under a rock; kids will do whatever they want, and it's pretty hard to stop them. 

Danyz
Danyz

Now that's a euphemism for the books - "recreational" marijuana use. Makes it sound on par with ping pong and skiing. Make no mistake. there is nothing "recreational" about any kind of drug use - just imagine someone pushing recreational crack and heroin use. And yes, they are "recreational" marajuana users next door neighbors, spiritually speaking. And just to think - 50,000 dead to date in Mexico's drug wars, bloody wars fought for the benefit of you good sports.    

P_raise
P_raise

its time MT @TIME @TIMEPolitics 3 states where marijuana might be legal after election day | http://t.co/bH48JaBF (via @TIMEPolitics)

BernieBurnface
BernieBurnface

@TIME @TIMEPolitics I don't have a problem with weed. It keeps (many) people complacent, sluggish, and controllable. That's a good thing.

ahandout
ahandout

And, nobody thinks it's crazy to call altering your state of conscious a "recreation."  It's just like taking a walk. 

No, we don't have a drug problem, or alcohol problem or prescription drug problem, no problems.  Just get high.

How about just decriminalize it and stop trying to make another business out of selling dope.  

It's a great way to waste away your life, smoking dope. 

H8ersH8en
H8ersH8en

@THEjennykim the green states lol

aksdflkjasdf
aksdflkjasdf

Sad to hear that the chances of it passing in Oregon are low. However, it does make me happy to see that people are getting it on the ballot every year, I hope during my lifetime this ridiculous crusade against weed is halted and we can use the money saved and taxes to make up for our ridiculously skinny budgets. Additionally, I hope when they do pass that the feds leave us the hell alone. Marijuana is not dangerous. Making it illegal is dangerous!

Jack_13
Jack_13

Nice going women, better not ruin this golden opportunity for the state of Colorado. The federal government has already proven completely incompetent at controlling illicit substances, just allow the states to regulate it and turn it into a communal positive; because this charade has gotten far too old.

hanrod1
hanrod1

Are we one Country, or just a conglomeration of bannana republics? ONE COUNTRY, ONE LAW! Most of us can cross a state border in an hour or two of driving, thereby entering, in some cases, into an entirely different world. To Hell with, so-called, "states rights", a war was fought and about that, and the National government won. And yes, at some appropriate point, if and when it is clearly shown that this drug, like alcohol, is of some use and little harm, let that NATIONAL law de-criminalize it. Until then, let us have ONE LAW for drugs, guns, voting and all other matters pertaining to U.S. citizens.

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

WIth pot legalized, it will be possible to grow hemp on a large scale with giant tractors being steered by GPS satellites.  The oil industry, along with Romney, are fighting this "tooth and nail" but sooner or later they are going to lose and we will move on to bio fuels, where hemp will be a significant crop.

youbetcha
youbetcha

Those that have been persuaded to vote no on 64 may not realize what they are being asked to do. They have been told that the state is lenient on possession, or that amendment 64 is an unnecessary step that will cause more trouble than it fixes. The no on 64 crowd will never come out and admit that they are for punishing individuals for marijuana. That punishment still means jail / prison for many. Punishment is what the voters are being asked to uphold by the no gang.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Today's posts have garnered fewer comments? Did the High Sheriffs activate a No Feeding Thursday filter?

(Not complaining, it's easier to navigate LiveFyre when the comment counts are low.)

MrObvious
MrObvious

While I'm not a proponent for drugs our war on drugs have been an abysmal failure and it is only good for the private prison industry.

nocroman
nocroman

Michigan's recreational use marijuana law failed as it just ask should we legalized marijuana. Marijuana needs to be legalized but with all the responsibilities and rules governing alcohol and tobacco.

It does NOT need to make the local, state, or fedaral governments the next drug pushers by taxation! It does need to be regulated only to the effect that it will still be illegal to grow and sell for profit. Growing for personal use or to give to those in need does not violate the personal portion of  the new law. Selling for profit will still get you prison time. Cartels from other nations will be out of business.

Unfortunately, those in Washington see a loss of tax dollars now spent on alcohol and cannot vote for anything that will bring about a loss of what they consider their money to spend.

Hemporer
Hemporer

If you would like to lend money to a medical marijuana center in Colorado and you would like to generate a meaningful return on that loan, please contact me at: mmjviceroy at g mail. We need kind people to step in and help where the banks will not. we are paying 10% to 30% on short term operational loans.  Please help us help patients, if you can.  mmjviceroy at g mail.

TootsieInOlympia
TootsieInOlympia

Under this initiative, an individual will only be allowed to buy or possess only 1 oz of marijuana, and no more than 1 pound of edibles. They say this initiative will be treated like our laws governing alcohol. I don't see any laws on the books that limits the amount of alcohol we can buy or possess. Again, that's like saying we can only have 1 bottle of wine, and no more then a six pack of beer! Any more than that, and we might be suspicious of having a distillery in our back yard and selling it in the black market. I guess the backers of this initiative are stereotyping the typical pot smoker as a dealer if they have 2 oz instead of 1. Again, another form of prohibition.I don't encourage anyone to drive while impaired. The DUI enforcement for having a blood analysis of the person's THC concentration, will be based upon 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood. This has not been scientifically proven to show whether this impairs a person's ability to drive. Also, as most of us knows, marijuana can stay in a person's system for up to a month, and not be high or impaired.

Hemporer
Hemporer

@dancinfool Only the Libvertarian.  Obama pretended to support MMJ but he must have gotten high and changed his mind.

J_Grey
J_Grey

@Danyz Narc's like you make me laugh, just because you don't like it doesn't mean you have to belittle those who do. Comparing marijuana to heroine and crack is literally ridiculous, so I don't know what point you're trying to make there. No one overdoses from marijuana and the statistic for people dying in car crashes from strictly marijuana is drastically lower than even alcohol. You're drug war fact, don't you think legalizing would help battle that statistic..? seeing as it would take the market of marijuana away from the drug lords and in the hands of the government.

jwil28
jwil28

@hanrod1 I sure hope this is nothing more than trolling, because regardless where you stand on the pot issue, this is the stupidest and scariest post I've read. Not only does handrod1 grossly misunderstand the Civil War (its causes and its after-effects), but he or she also misunderstands the Constitution, the federal structure of our government, and the history and philosophy that led to such a structure. Take a look at the 10th Amendment, buddy-- and we're certainly in agreement that the Bill of Rights is federal law, binding on all U.S. citizens (at least with respect to government-citizen interactions). With all due respect to the cause of legalizing marijuana (which I support), put down the pipe son and pick up the Constitution or a history book before you go ranting nonsense about things you clearly misunderstand.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@kbanginmotown I think all the new wingers stayed with Alex's Ohio poll story and that's where pejb has been holding forth all day. 

Real conversation has been pretty much gone for a while when Rusty, pejb and now ahandout just kept spamming the threads. I used to hope that as we got closer to the election we would have real conversations again - Rose even said she would drop by - but I can't imagine this new system will encourage that. Stuart re-tweeted two of my complaints yesterday, but we haven't seen him wade in here. We also haven't seen sacred since this began, but I don't remember his work schedule. Unusual for him not to be around for nearly a week however.

I planned to take a breather after the election and not post so much because I have to focus on getting ready for Christmas before my trip, since I'll be away for almost a month. This system will make it easier. Although as I said, I appreciate someone from Livefyre being on twitter and being responsive.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@Ivy_B @kbanginmotown I hope sacred signs up and gets back into things. However, Ivy, be careful when you're logged into twitter. If you have both swampland and twitter logged in, you could have tweets wind up here. I remember Outside posting earlier that this could explain the locusts at Adam's post.

youbetcha
youbetcha

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