It’s official: two more states have joined Colorado and Washington to become states with recreational cannabis for adults ages 21 and over, while the District of Columbia has legalized cannabis possession.
In a historic vote, residents of Alaska, Oregon and D.C. showed their unwavering support for more progressive cannabis legislation. Reports show that in Alaska, Measure 2 passed with 52 percent of the vote and will allow people to have up to one ounce of cannabis and six plants. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will implement parts of the bill and a Marijuana Control Board will be created by the legislature. The state will have 18 months to implement the regulations regarding sales and production, which will be the responsibility of the Marijuana Control Board.
In Oregon, the passage of Measure 91 allows residents to possess up to 8 ounces of cannabis and four plants. The initiative will become effective by July 1, 2015 and the state’s liquor control board is required to implement regulations by January 2016.
Although D.C. voters passed a measure that would allow for legal possession of two ounces of cannabis and six plants, the initiative is still up for congressional review before it can be considered law. The measure, known as Initiative 71, won’t allow cannabis to be sold or taxed.
In Florida, it’s reported that voters failed to meet the 60 percent mark that would have legalized medical marijuana throughout the state. This disappointing news will have a major impact on the lives of patients that have shown a need for cannabis to treat a number of symptoms and conditions. The measure, Amendment 2, lost by just 2 percent.
Although the news coming from Florida is saddening, the other measures that passed can still be considered a major sign of progress. These shifts in regulations signal a pivotal step towards cannabis legalization for the rest of the U.S. as well as other countries around the world. Jill Harris, the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Drug Policy Alliance, is already envisioning what the future will hold.
“Looking ahead where there’s going to be legalization measures on the ballot in places like California, Massachusetts, and potentially Nevada, Arizona and Maine, I think we’ll be looking at a presidential year electorate and those initiatives will do very well. This result is just building momentum toward that,” she said.
What do you think about the election results? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.