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Colorado and Washington Approve Measures to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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Voters in Colorado and Washington approved measures to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use, becoming the first U.S. states to do so. A similar measure in Oregon was defeated, Reuters reports. The measures allow personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for anyone at least 21 years old. They also permit marijuana to be sold and taxed at state-licensed stores.

The approval of the new state laws has set the stage for a potential showdown with the federal government, which classifies marijuana as an illegal narcotic, the article notes.

In Colorado, the recreational marijuana law received almost 53 percent of the vote. In Washington, early returns showed the measure was leading with 55 percent of the vote. Marijuana is already legal in Colorado and Washington for medical purposes.

In Colorado, marijuana cultivation will be limited to six plants per person. In Washington, personal marijuana plants will continue to be banned.

In September, nine former administrators of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging him to oppose the three state legalization measures. The letter stated that not opposing the measures would indicate acceptance. The former DEA officials said the measures would pose a direct conflict with federal law.

Three other states also voted on marijuana initiatives. According to CNN, a measure to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas trailed narrowly with 89 percent of the vote in, while a medical marijuana initiative in Massachusetts was ahead by almost a two-to-one margin. In Montana, early returns showed voters agreed to make the state’s medical marijuana law more restrictive.

4 Responses to this article

  1. Greg Elam / November 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Do we really need another legal mood altering drug? Isn’t tobacco and alcohol killing enough people? If the tax revenue is the main reason, does it make sense to legalise and tax a drug that has been shown to lower IQ and increase apathy? That seems unsustainable.

  2. Avatar of mike johnson
    mike johnson / November 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

    It’s about time, our policies and attitudes toward marijuana are backwards and antiquated. The largest social problems with marijuana are all associated with it’s prohibition. We need policies based on science and compassion for our society.

  3. Bill Crane / November 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    A good first start. However, where the emphasis on changing marijuana prohibition needs to be is on the federal law itself. The law that made generally marijuana illegal nation-wide was based on racil bigotry and outright lies. The core of the problem is in the heart of the law itself. Arguments such as reducing the effect of drug cartel profits, less harmful than alcohol, medical benefits, and person rights are all valid – yet they do not strike at teh emotional and political heart of the law itself. And it is only through attacking the basic injustice of the original marijuana law will the necessary changes occur.

  4. Bill Crane / November 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Spelling correction to above post:
    A good first start. However, where the emphasis on changing marijuana prohibition needs to be is on the federal law itself. The law that made marijuana generally illegal nation-wide was based on racial bigotry and outright lies. The core of the problem is in the heart of the law itself. Arguments such as reducing drug cartel profits, less harmful than alcohol, medical benefits, and personal rights are all valid – yet they do not strike at the emotional and political heart of the law itself. And it is only through attacking the basic injustice of the original marijuana law will the necessary changes occur.

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