Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while Florida voters on Tuesday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed medical marijuana use for chronic illnesses.
In Alaska, the measure passed with 52% support and allows adults aged 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and six plants, making Alaska the fourth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Production and sale of pot will be regulated by a new state commission. The law is set to go into effect 90 days after certification of the election. The state will have 18 months to implement regulation, the Huffington Post reported.
The similar Measure 91 in Oregon allows adults aged 21 and older to possess up to eight ounces of pot and four marijuana plants. Sales and production will be regulated by the state liquor board. All tax revenues from the sale of marijuana will go toward enforcement and education. Marijuana in Oregon will be legal by July 1, 2015, while regulations will be put in place by January 1, 2016.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Yes on 91″]
Oregonians had the wisdom to consider this measure based upon its merits and to move past the out-dated information of a failed prohibitionist system. This victory is just one more example of how Oregon is a special place filled with true trail blazers.
Both measures will open the path for retail pot shops and recreational use, similar to the system in place in Washington state and Oregon, which both legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
The measure in Washington, D.C. is not as expansive, allowing adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of pot and six plants. There is no allowance made for taxation and sales, as voter measures cannot impact the District’s budget under the law. The initiative is also subject to review by Congress, which has oversight over the nation’s capital. Republican Representative Andy Harris said he has plans to change the initiative, despite 69% of voters in support.
While the medical marijuana measure in Florida had popular support, it became a target for a well-funding attack by a major Republican donor. The amendment would have allowed doctors to prescribe marijuana for debilitating diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Crohn’s disease, USA Today reported.
Kevin Sabet, co-founder and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), an anti-legalization group, said his organization would strengthen its efforts to build a coalition to beat better-funded pro-cannabis groups ahead of what will be a larger fight in 2016, Reuters reported.