Marijuana ballot initiatives in Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. Will they pass?

Ballot measures in Oregon and Alaska would set up a network of regulated pot shops, like those in Colorado and Washington. A measure in the District of Columbia would allow possession but not retail sales.

Voters in the U.S. capital and two West Coast states will decide on Tuesday during national midterm elections whether to legalize marijuana in a test for broader cannabis legalization efforts across the United States.

Ballot measures in Oregon and Alaska would set up a network of regulated pot shops, similar to those already operating in Colorado and Washington state after twin landmark votes in 2012. A measure in the District of Columbia would allow possession but not retail sales.

The referendums come amid rapid shifts in Americans' opinions on marijuana in recent years that have seen efforts to legalize cannabis creep closer toward the mainstream and brought about sweeping pot policy changes in states and cities, where the drug remains illegal under federal law.

"Win or lose, we expect to see more support and more dialogue about the issue than ever," said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is working on legalization measures in California and other states for 2016.

Legalization advocates backed by national organizations have had more cash to spend in Oregon and Alaska on advertisements, get-out-the-vote drives and other campaigning, which has included a reporter quitting her job on live television and declaring her support of legal weed.

"Anything short of easy passage in all states is a major defeat for the deep pockets of the legalization advocates," said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Polls have shown a narrow majority favoring legal pot, with one poll showing the opposite, in left-leaning Oregon, where voters rejected a 2012 recreational pot measure. Polling has been inconsistent in Alaska, a Republican-leaning state with a libertarian streak.

In Alaska, The Christian Science Monitor reports that if the ballot initiative passed commercial production and retail sales of cannabis would be subject to taxation in Alaska, but no taxes would be imposed upon those who choose to engage in noncommercial activities – growing small quantities of marijuana for personal use or engaging in not-for-profit transfers of limited quantities of cannabis. Public consumption of cannabis would be subject to a civil fine.

The Washington D.C. ballot measure has been favored by a two-to-one margin, and advocates say it is needed to decrease the disproportionate number of blacks arrested for pot possession. The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants.

Meanwhile, a proposed constitutional amendment to make Florida the 24th state and the first in the South to allow medical marijuana faces an uphill battle after well-funded conservative opposition.

And two Maine cities, Lewiston and South Portland, will vote on whether to legalize the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana.

 (Editing by Nick Macfie)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Marijuana ballot initiatives in Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. Will they pass?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today