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."
More from MSN Money
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!
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!!!!
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.
If enough states are in favor of it the fed will have to acquiesce.
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?
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!
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.
we want pot! we want pot! we want pot!..all jokes aside its about time they look into doing this.
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!!!!!!
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.
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 added just over a point, holding its weekly gain at 1.0% while the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.
The major averages began the day on an upbeat note, but relinquished their opening gains during the first 90 minutes of action. The early sentiment was boosted by a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report for February (175K versus Briefing.com consensus 163K), but a closer look into the report suggested that ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'