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Legalized marijuana (Amendment 64), same-sex marriage make gains (+video)

Some 176 ballot measures in 38 states included historic wins for gay marriage and legalized marijuana (Amendment 64 in Colorado), as well as votes in four red states to rein in 'Obamacare.'

By Staff writer / November 7, 2012


Tuesday had a list of controversial and in some ways profound ballot measures around the country.

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Among them: Same-sex marriage, legalizing recreational marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, the death penalty, abortion, and genetically modified food.

According to vote projections, measures allowing adults to use marijuana (Amendment 64) were approved in Colorado and Washington State but defeated in Oregon. In Massachusetts, voters overwhelmingly approved legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, joining 17 other states that already have done so.

State-level approval of marijuana for any purpose – medically or recreationally – is sure to set up a legal dispute with federal authorities, since federal law recognizes no legal use for the drug. Federal agents have cracked down on medical marijuana growers and sellers in California and other states.

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said in a statement. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

Alabama and Montana voted against allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

On another controversial issue, voters in Maine and Maryland approved same-sex marriage, and judging by exit polls, Washington State was expected to do so as well. It was the first time voters had approved gay marriage, which has been defeated in 31 states over the years.

“This is a landmark election for marriage equality and we will forever look back at this year as a critical turning point in the movement for full citizenship for LGBT people,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement, referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. “This is a milestone night for the simple truth that when Americans are presented with the real lives of their friends and neighbors, they have no choice but to vote for their equality. It is the momentum reflected in poll after poll that shows a growing majority for marriage equality across the country.”

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