3 states to vote on recreational pot use

National interest in legalizing marijuana grows as Washington, Oregon and Colorado take up the issue.

By Bruce Kennedy Oct 24, 2012 9:34AM

Credit: Bruce KennedyIs 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."


More from MSN Money

1462Comments
Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar
should be legalized do to the fact the public supports alcohol crimes and never go after the makers or the responsiblity of companies who support the behavior. law enforcement has stated they don't find much resistance to violence with someone under the influence of marijuanna. It;s not as complicated as much as the other drugs and alcohol have on us as a society of people
Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar
Everyone keeps dancing around the physical effects it has when the buds of the plant are heated and ingested. This is just one small notch to the possibilities that lie within this herb. You can make and build things with it, make fuel, dietary supplements, and many more wonderful things. The greatest part about it is the regeneration rate. For comparison, it could replace lumber in a lot of aspects of our lives and it cycles every 6-8 weeks, instead of decades. The conservation effort alone is worth it. Privatized prisons and big pharmaceuticals have a lot to do with it, but there are other greedy, environmentally debilitating industries that stand to lose out on our dollars when (not if) legalization takes place.
Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar

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!

 

Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar
I absolutely think they should legalize...........wait.....what was the subject again? 
Mmmm Cheetos!
Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar
Living in a dry town in up state NY I find that the "Elders" are living so far in the past that they don't even realize that their own kids have toked, are toking, or will toke in the future..as long as they get their booze from an adjoining town.  As a toker, I find that being quite mellow is preferred to not knowing what the f++k is going on and pissing in my pants.. Peace Brothers & Sisters
Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar

All states should legalize it. We live in FL and are looking to move to CO because it is legal. So I know for sure it will bring money to the state. The laws in FL on marijuana is a JOKE!!! Cant wait to leave this B***H!!!!

Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar
Legalize marijuana, it will take the edge off of unemployment!
Oct 24, 2012 12:35PM
avatar

While i don't really care whether it is legalized or not, i love the argument that "People are going to smoke pot whether it's legal or not".

People are going to drive drunk, murder, etc... whether they are legal or not also.
Smarten up people.

List the necessary pros and cons for your arguments and pressure the law makers accordingly.
But i beg of you, stop being stupid.

Oct 24, 2012 12:34PM
avatar

If enough states are in favor of it the fed will have to acquiesce.

Oct 24, 2012 12:34PM
avatar
Great...as if we don't have enough people walking around with their minds all messed up on alcohol and nicotine.  Now welfare recipients can have something else to blow taxpayer dollars on.  This in no way betters a man for pursuing it, so why then pursue it?  All this will do is allow stupid people to be more stupid and yet another way to spread lung cancer...
Oct 24, 2012 12:34PM
avatar
I am hooked on drugs, that is prescribed drugs. DO NOT STOP TAKING THIS MEDICATION WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF YOUR DOCTOR.  YOU COULD HAVE A HEART ATTACK OR DIE IF YOU STOP TAKING THIS MEDICATION WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR PERMISSION.  So, I am hooked on legally prescribed drugs.  If I have to be hooked on drugs, then I should have a say in what drugs I want to be  hooked on.  Marijuana is killing no one that I know of.  There are no side effects that would cause me to die if I stopped the marijuana.  I say LEGALIZE marijuana now!!!
Oct 24, 2012 12:33PM
avatar

Laws are made that smokers cannot smoke "anywhere" because of second hand smoke, but it sounds like marijuana smoke is "ok."  How does that work?

Oct 24, 2012 12:32PM
avatar
Not too long ago gambling was illegal everywhere too.  Now most states have lotteries.  It's only a matter of time before the dollars overwhelm the fears.  Then it will be a big ho-hum.  If a state can tax it, there's only a matter of time before it's legal. 
Oct 24, 2012 12:32PM
avatar

i agree with Bill.

let the users pay tax om it

Oct 24, 2012 12:31PM
avatar
Prohibition of pot is so last century. It is a jim crow law. It is a law that was designed to give control over minorities. Look to the prohibition of alcohol and how it gave strength to the blackmarket and developed syndicated crime. Pot is far-less harmful than alcohol, yet it makes cartels million$. Why give cartels that position of power?! It's nuckin' futs! Prohibition became the govt's job creation plan for the justice system, giving ultimate control over the lives of the many who have discovered how valuable this plant actually is, for everyone, not just the judicial system milking folks for all they're worth. The prohibition of pot was wrong from the start, and theres a 75 yr old trail of destroyed lives, not from using pot but from a govt screwing folks over, to prove it. The war on drugs failed long ago.
Oct 24, 2012 12:31PM
avatar

Look at this from an ecological stand point.  It's illegal to grow industrial hemp in the US, because some seriously misinformed entities think it would be a cover for marijuana growing operations.  The uses for industrial hemp are infinite - paper, building products, textiles, livestock feed, alternative fuels..........   Save a tree (ALL of the trees) - grow industrial hemp!  It's one of the strongest fibers in the world.  Not to mention the fact that it grows prolifically and one plant produces the same amount of oxygen as 4 trees.  Legalization of Marijuana and industrial hemp across the board would benefit our country economically, ecologically, medically and morally!  It's just the right thing to do.  God put it here for a reason!!!! 

 

LEGALIZE IT and do what we do best here in the US -  tax it and control it.  The Fed and DEA can still justifiy their jobs by using part of the billions saved to do something usefull for a change like wipe out the Meth problem that's killing our country from the inside out!

Oct 24, 2012 12:31PM
avatar

Yes let's just give in to the criminals, because it's easier and everyone does it. I , for one, would not want to live next to someone who does pot let alone sells it (which by the way would be legal too). All of those in favor of it should speak to someone who's lost a loved one do to drugs or drug-related violence.

Oct 24, 2012 12:30PM
avatar

we want pot! we want pot! we want pot!..all jokes aside its about time they look into doing this.

Oct 24, 2012 12:30PM
avatar
Pot is for the passive , if people want to slow down , or screw up there lungs , let them . It has other uses . It's a marketable product , so lets capitalize on the weed that grows like a weed , smoke ,eat, make rope , lube and oil , sounds like it will save the word , get it done ,as the fat joker says.
Oct 24, 2012 12:30PM
avatar

Really big step for such a high scheduled narcotic the feds tell you...

Personally it should be decriminalized first,   Taken off the schedule 1 drug rating.

That's just being honest and truthful the Herb is not harmful as some people still think...but I have to state that the voting on this agenda will fail because there is too much money and big business wanting to keep the plant/ cannabis illegal!!!!!!

Any bets?

Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

RECENT QUOTES

WATCHLIST

Symbol
Last
Change
Shares
Quotes delayed at least 15 min
Sponsored by:

MARKET UPDATE

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


Currencies

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.