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Huge Election for Marijuana Legalization with Three Major Victories at Ballot Box

marijuanaThis year was the best election season for marijuana legalization so far. Even though 2014 was a low turnout midterm election that favored Republicans, marijuana legalization won in every major jurisdiction where it was on the ballot.

Washington D.C. – Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure 71 by a vote of 69.4 percent yes to 30.6 percent no. The highest margin for any marijuana legalization ballot measure ever.

Oregon – Measure 91 currently stands at 54.7 percent yes to 45.3 percent no. A massive swing from just two years ago when a poorly crafted legalization initiative failed 46.6-53.4.

Alaska – With most of the vote counted, Measure 2 has 52.1 percent yes to 47.9 percent no. This is the first victory for marijuana legalization in a Republican state. Alaska was won overwhelmingly by Mitt Romney in 2012.

Medical marijuana also won in Guam but technically failed in Florida. The Sunshine state was the only real setback for marijuana reform efforts yesterday, but that was entirely because of Florida’s unusual ballot rules. Amendment 2 actually received the support of 57.6 percent of voters but failed because it didn’t reach the 60 percent threshold amendments need to be adopted. In a sane world the state officials would see the overwhelmingly support for medical marijuana and move quickly pass a law for it through the legislature, but sanity seems in short supply in the current political climate.

These three legalization victories are big policy wins for the people living in these places, but more importantly they are huge political wins for the reform movement. They prove the momentum behind marijuana legalization is real and hasn’t ebbed at all since 2012. They show legalization can win even in low turnout midterm elections and in states that favor Republicans. Finally, the victory in Oregon shows that the movement’s dogged determination will eventually pay off. After a loss the organizations learn from their mistakes, listen to the concerns of voters, and come back with better proposals that the majority will support. What the movement did in Oregon this year it will likely do in California during the next election.

It is no longer a matter of if more states will legalize marijuana, only a matter of how and how soon.

CommunityJust Say Now

Huge Election for Marijuana Legalization with Three Major Victories at Ballot Box

marijuanaThis year was the best election season for marijuana legalization so far. Even though 2014 was a low turnout midterm election that favored Republicans, marijuana legalization won in every major jurisdiction where it was on the ballot.

Washington D.C. – Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure 71 by a vote of 69.4 percent yes to 30.6 percent no. The highest margin for any marijuana legalization ballot measure ever.

Oregon – Measure 91 currently stands at 54.7 percent yes to 45.3 percent no. A massive swing from just two years ago when a poorly crafted legalization initiative failed 46.6-53.4.

Alaska – With most of the vote counted, Measure 2 has 52.1 percent yes to 47.9 percent no. This is the first victory for marijuana legalization in a Republican state. Alaska was won overwhelmingly by Mitt Romney in 2012.

Medical marijuana also won in Guam but technically failed in Florida. The Sunshine state was the only real setback for marijuana reform efforts yesterday, but that was entirely because of Florida’s unusual ballot rules. Amendment 2 actually received the support of 57.6 percent of voters but failed because it didn’t reach the 60 percent threshold amendments need to be adopted. In a sane world the state officials would see the overwhelmingly support for medical marijuana and move quickly pass a law for it through the legislature, but sanity seems in short supply in the current political climate.

These three legalization victories are big policy wins for the people living in these places, but more importantly they are huge political wins for the reform movement. They prove the momentum behind marijuana legalization is real and hasn’t ebbed at all since 2012. They show legalization can win even in low turnout midterm elections and in states that favor Republicans. Finally, the victory in Oregon shows that the movement’s dogged determination will eventually pay off. After a loss the organizations learn from their mistakes, listen to the concerns of voters, and come back with better proposals that the majority will support. What the movement did in Oregon this year it will likely do in California during the next election.

It is no longer a matter of if more states will legalize marijuana, only a matter of how and how soon.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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