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After big wins in 2012, pro-marijuana groups set their sights on other states

California and Oregon could be the next states to legalize marijuana, as pro-pot groups that spent decades campaigning seek to capitalize on 2012 victories in Washington and Colorado.

By Alex DobuzinskisReuters / December 30, 2012

Marijuana plants flourishing under the lights at a grow house in Denver Nov. 8. President Barack Obama says he won't go after Washington state and Colorado for legalizing marijuana.

Ed Andrieski/AP/File

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Los Angeles

After a decades-long campaign to legalize marijuana hit a high mark in 2012 with victories in Washington state and Colorado, its energized and deep-pocketed backers are mapping out a strategy for the next round of ballot-box battles.

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They have their sights set on possible ballot measures in 2014 or 2016 in states such as California and Oregon, which were among the first in the country to allow marijuana for medical use. Although those states more recently rejected broader legalization, drug-law reform groups remain undeterred.

"Legalization is more or less repeating the history of medical marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "If you want to know which states are most likely to legalize marijuana, then look at the states that were the first to legalize medical marijuana."

A political arm of the alliance spent more than $1.6 million as one of the main funders of the Washington state campaign.

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