Millions of Americans Have a Chance to Vote on Marijuana Reform Today
Today, millions of Americans across a dozen states will have a chance to vote on marijuana reform at either the state or local level. The four biggest marijuana reform measures are on the ballot in Oregon, Alaska, Washington, D.C. and Florida. If you want to make your voice heard on the issue, this is your chance.
Full legalization in Alaska (Measure 2) and Oregon (Measure 91) – Both states have initiatives similar to the one approved two years ago in Colorado. They would both legalize possession and limited home cultivation for adults. In addition, they would both create a system for taxing and regulating marijuana retail stores.
Limited legalization in Washington D.C. (Measure 71) – The initiative in the District of Columbia would only legalize possession and home cultivation for adults. Laws governing the D.C. initiative process prevented the campaign from being able to add taxing and regulating provisions, but the D.C. Council plans to move forward with a bill creating a regulated market if the measure wins with voters today. The big wildcard factor is Congress which has the undemocratic power to overturn any local laws in D.C.
Medical marijuana in Florida (Amendment 2) – The amendment would legalize medical marijuana for patients with a doctor’s recommendation and create a regulated system for patients to have access to the medicine. Thanks to Florida’s unusual rules, any amendment on the ballot needs to get over 60 percent of the vote to be approved. There is a good chance a clear majority of voters in Florida will come out to support medical marijuana and still not get it.
Sentencing reform in California (Proposition 47) – The measure is meant to reduce prison overcrowding and spending by reclassify some non-serious, nonviolent crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies. While not explicitly about marijuana policy, this measure is worth mention because its approval would send a powerful message that the state has turned against the aggressive war on drugs and tough on crime mentality. Potentially, it could create added momentum to current federal sentencing reform efforts.
Local marijuana measures – Several cities, districts, and counties in Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, and Massachusetts have different marijuana measures on the ballot. You can find the full list here. In most of these states the votes today will potentially help build support for statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiative campaigns in 2016.