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."


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1408Comments
Oct 24, 2012 10:24AM
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I do not smoke pot, so for me this not personal. I think if pot was put in the same category as liquor it would increase tax revenue and decrease police, prosecution and prison cost. Seems like a win-win situation. 
Oct 24, 2012 9:54AM
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End the war on drugs already, especially for marijuana...what a waste of money!

And California, I can't believe you'd rather pay to fight this war than have that extra money in the state coffers for better use. People are going to use pot whether it's legal or not.

Oct 24, 2012 10:27AM
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Anyone remember that liquor prohibition thing back in the 20s and how well that worked?  Pot laws are the same thing and if the majority of voters want to make it legal then that is what must happen.

Oct 24, 2012 10:25AM
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hell with the money made on taxing marijuana would put a huge dent in the deficit

 

Oct 24, 2012 11:04AM
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weed should have been legal  30 years ago,  stop the  federal  control of states,  federal  law should not supercede state laws
Oct 24, 2012 10:15AM
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Its also a Federal law that the President can't lie to us. All of them have done it right to our face.

Clinton the biggest pig in American history.

Not calling him a pig for getting a ****.

No its the fact that he lied right to our face.

Its time to lealize it period.

f**k the alcohol companies, f**k the cigarette companies, and f**k any of the other big corporations that are against this, because they will loose millions. Tough s**t.

These loosers produce crap that kills more people than anything else in this world.

Alcohol is poison period but we tax it make money off of it, and we even drink it.

Its time you piece of s**t lobbyists shut yuor dam mouth shut your greedy pockets.

This is what the people want, lets make it happen.

Just the money savings alone, is huge from not prosecuting people for a dime bag.

We could use that money to actually keep these piece of crap illegal immigrants out of our country.

Oct 24, 2012 10:59AM
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Its just a little weed, of course it should be legal.
Oct 24, 2012 11:04AM
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I don't really know why the federal government thinks it controls drug laws, when the 10th amendment of the Bill Of Rights in the U.S. Constitution clearly states that state laws will take precedence over federal laws unless they directly conflict with the U.S. Constitution.  Why hasn't this matter gone to court over this issue?
Oct 24, 2012 11:03AM
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Stop the Prohibition! Legalize and Tax it! 
Oct 24, 2012 10:56AM
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To be truely honost we probably could cure all the states debts by legalizing and the ones that don't legalize could still get help from other states to become finacially savvy. It would most likely stop drug war (for marijauna that is) because people no longer have to be sneeky and can legally grow and set up there own business. Not to mention you can make your own type of marijauna just by mixing different kinds in essence it would always be a hot product because the type and potiency all depend on the type of marijuana. People could brand their own types so you would always be in import and export. Even the climates and different areas produce different types of marijuana which means if we where trading it with Mexico or Africa they would get trade with us also because we can harvest a different strain. The streets have already shown that it can be wholesale and single sales can also gain great amounts of cash. I can't lie I know people that will never work again because they have entered the business. But the only problem is that the dealers are not trustworthy, you can get robbed(no getting it back), the dangers of the neighborhoods that actually sell it, and you name can be permanently damaged if you have failed a drug test with jobs. I can begin to comprehend that the tobacco plant is legal but a plant with better offers to human health and science can be banded. Someone tell me what healing powers the tabocco plant offers?
Oct 24, 2012 11:05AM
Oct 24, 2012 11:01AM
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LEGALIZED IT!!!

For god's sake, we have tobacco and alcohol legal (and tax them). Why not legalized marijuana and tax it????

BUT it is the big pharmaceutical's that spend millions of dollars in lobbyists who stop it. Marijuana is a direct competitor with marijuana and they do not like it.

 So it is us, WE THEPEOPLE, who need to tel our wonderful elected officals to legailzie it, then they can tax it. ANd tell the big pharmaceuticals to go away!!!
Oct 24, 2012 11:04AM
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Giant tax revenue for states and i'm sure the government ,and would cut the jail population by more than at least half . Legalize it and cut the BS . Then maybe some of the real POS's can be put in jail and make us all safer .
Oct 24, 2012 10:24AM
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gadgetman44......your couldn't more right.....wish your comment would make it to someone who could change things
Oct 24, 2012 11:03AM
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outlaw cigarettes and  beer,  and lobbyists
Oct 24, 2012 11:04AM
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Alcohol is the gateway drug for sure. it is easy to make, kids have easy access to it, and you can die from alcohol poisoning or being so drunk you do something so stupid you oil your self or others. 

I think a trade is in order criminalize alcohol and legalize marijuana. 

As far a cocaine and heroine and meth go, those are so destructive, and people should know it is them who support terrorists, as their money ends up in the Taliban or Cartels.

Those drug users are idiots who hurt themselves and everyone around them and they support terrorism and the acts of terror those groups perform. If you don't then don't give them your money, and things will change in america really fast.  
Oct 24, 2012 10:56AM
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To be truely honost we probably could cure all the states debts by legalizing and the ones that don't legalize could still get help from other states to become finacially savvy. It would most likely stop drug war (for marijauna that is) because people no longer have to be sneeky and can legally grow and set up there own business. Not to mention you can make your own type of marijauna just by mixing different kinds in essence it would always be a hot product because the type and potiency all depend on the type of marijuana. People could brand their own types so you would always be in import and export. Even the climates and different areas produce different types of marijuana which means if we where trading it with Mexico or Africa they would get trade with us also because we can harvest a different strain. The streets have already shown that it can be wholesale and single sales can also gain great amounts of cash. I can't lie I know people that will never work again because they have entered the business. But the only problem is that the dealers are not trustworthy, you can get robbed(no getting it back), the dangers of the neighborhoods that actually sell it, and you name can be permanently damaged if you have failed a drug test with jobs. I can begin to comprehend that the tobacco plant is legal but a plant with better offers to human health and science can be banded. Someone tell me what healing powers the tabocco plant offers?
Oct 24, 2012 11:01AM
Oct 24, 2012 11:15AM
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I am an attorney and wife of a law enforcement officer. The legalization of marijuana is long overdue.  Those who call it a "gateway drug" are simply ignorant.  If any drug can be labeled a grateway drug, it is alcohol.  Alcohol reduces inhibitions and people are apt to do things and act in ways they never would when sober. Marjuana simply doesn't have that effect on people.  As my husband says, he never had to subdue a violent offender because he had smoked pot.
Oct 24, 2012 11:15AM
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Please, please, please lets stop the crap on pot.  Legalize it!!!!  Sorry but waaaayyy more than 50% of the American people smoke.  You won't hear from those whose jobs may depend on this issue, that's why the numbers may be skewed.  I am 63 years old, I am a senior citizen and I am here to tell you when 'we go up in years' WE ARE STILL SMOKING.  I live in a Mobile Home park for people 55 and older-more than half smoke!!!  I like sleeping through the night, I love the fact that my bones don't ache so much, laughing is great.  No matter what pot is here to stay (acutally has never left) more and more people are smoking-I've seen new strains of excellent pot.  It's amazing how we now have different strains for different ailments.  I smoked some "Diablo" grown in AZ.  I just wanted to clean, take a walk, put me in a great mood, I felt great even though I have a bad hip.  My brain is not fuzzy, I don't forget.
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