3 states to vote on recreational pot use
National interest in legalizing marijuana grows as Washington, Oregon and Colorado take up the issue.
Is the United States on the verge of legalizing pot? Already 17 states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of marijuana, and on Nov. 6, voters in three states will decide whether adults should be able to buy it for recreational use.
Ballot measures in Washington, Oregon and Colorado are in direct conflict with federal law, an issue that opponents hope will sway voters. But the measures are polling well in Washington and Colorado and getting support across the political spectrum, including from some high-profile conservative Republicans, The Washington Post reports.
The issue is in play on a national level, too. In Colorado alone, campaigns for and against the state's Amendment 64 have reportedly spent well over $3 million, much of it from out-of-state organizations on both sides. "This is a big deal, and I think the federal government knows that," said Sam Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver. "And I think they're watching these elections very closely."
Supporters of legalized marijuana have also been more politically savvy in this round of elections, compared with during earlier efforts, such as a failed 2010 attempt in California. They are pointing to the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars that strictly regulated marijuana sales programs could bring to state coffers.
But Kamin, who has been closely watching the battle over Colorado's Amendment 64, believes those numbers are optimistic. "The extent to which this will become a large-scale industry really depends on federal acquiescence," he said. "If the feds come in and shut everyone down, it's not going to be a big boon for the cities and for the state government. (But) if it happens and this rivals tourism in attracting people to our state, this might provide some financial benefits."
Kamin and other observers also note a generational gap when it comes to the legalization issue, akin to how voters approach gay marriage. For younger voters, he says, "medical marijuana, legalization of marijuana is not something they're very troubled by. They're usually very pro. Similarly, gay marriage is not something that bothers them. It's only when you go up in years that you see strong opposition to it."
So is the tide turning? A Gallup poll taken last year said half of Americans surveyed favored the legalization of marijuana use, up from 46% in the previous year. And a recent Seattle Times editorial endorsed the state's Initiative 502, saying that, rather than continued criminalization of marijuana use, "the better policy is to legalize it, license it, regulate it and tax it."
But Kamin believes that, should these measures pass in any of the three states, it will only signal the beginning of the real battle over legalization.
"If it does pass somewhere, that does not mean that all of its provisions will go into effect right away," he says. "We may see a federal crackdown. We may see court challenges. It's sort of the start and not the end of what happens."
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The toughest thing for any country and religion, is to step back and figure out whats wrong with recreational use of marijuana, and how does it differ from Alcohol.
In the end, we all end up in the same place. Our bodys were created to live no longer than 100 years. It should be left to the individual, as to how those years are spent. Some will go the option of not making it past 50 years old, as others choise an option of living up to 100 years old. It is not the governments place to decide how long one must live. Its the governments Job to inform us how to live longer.
I think that if pot is legalized, there are a few things that will need to be considered. I think at first there will be quite a bit of use because of it being something new to many people. After a while the newness will wear off and many people will decide that it is not for them. It will be like alcoholic beverages. People drink whiskey and not beer. Vodka and not wine and so on. There will need to be consequences for the actions such as when operating a motor vehicle dwi or in this case dwh for lack of a better word. If it is legalized, it will be regulated just as the alcohol industry with the different kinds with more effects being regulated for example the pot with less effects will be cheaper and the pot with more effects will cost more like alcohol such as 6% beer at one price and Crown Royale at a higher price. Also the effects will be labeled such as cancer causing, emphezema and other diseases that are caused by smoking just like tobacco. It will help reduce the deficet but I don't think that it will be that benifical.
Anyone with even a scintilla of intellectual acumen can see legalization is a formula for economic disaster. WHAT COMPANY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD EVER HIRE A POT HEAD. I employed over 1,500 people in my company. If I ever found out one of them was a POT HEAD, they would have been fired so quickly it would make your head spin. The critical thinking skills of our society have already been compromised.
The mafia originally introduced drugs into black communities in an effort to keep the blacks down and profit from their economic despair. Now, we have another group of intellectually and morally compromised individuals who want to legalize pot in America! Those LOSERS who endorse legalization are brain dead! If you are determined to ensure the downfall of America, support legalization of pot!
They need to lighten up and enjoy the high.
Kermit the frog 2012....A leap above the rest. For president. Might vote positive for this. His lily
pads have a ample supply.
The Seattle Times editor's piece has a factual history in it, which would help voters on this issue. Thanks for including it in your article.
I'm in Arizona, where medical marijuana use is currently legal. I've done a 6 month sentence in Az. State Prison for the possession of a "pot pipe" less than 4 yrs. ago. Now, the State has issued me a "license" to cultivate 12 plants for personal use, and the right to possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of "the icky sticky" every 2 weeks! The Governer is dragging her highheeled feet as regards the opening of State
Licensed (& taxed) Dispensaries...meanwhile a HUGE amount of pot changes hands and finds its way to us patients ON A DAILY BASIS,
and the state coffers don't see a penny. WHATS WRONG WITH THESE POLITICIANS? IT'S LIKE THEY'RE....HIGH ON SOMETHING...or something!
The truth is pot stays illegal because there is to much money given private prisons that enslave their inmates to produce goods that corporations sell on world market.
The prisons will later house you as the NWO takes over and civil rights are removed.
It's all part of the Police State that is growing...
Prosecution of recreational marijuana use does nothing more than waste time, money, and people's lives. Even if there were no monetary gain from taxing mariju****galization is the right thing to do.
Since this issue will surely come up before the Supreme Court, then Colorado voters (and voters in other swing states) hold a very important position in the decision. The next President will nominate two Supreme Court Justices, replacing one conservative judge and one liberal judge who will likely retire soon. If Mitt Romney is elected President and the Supreme Court is packed with six conservative judges, then legalization will not happen for another 30 years. If this is something important to you, then vote for President Obama. The President will not decide the issue, but will appoint the people who will decide. The alternative is 30 more years of wasted money, time and lives.
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