In just 10 days, on November 4th, the 2014 general election will be upon us, and Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. – along with a couple of cities – will be voting on the legalization of recreational cannabis, only two years after Washington and Colorado did the same.
In Oregon, Measure 91 has consistently maintained majority support among polls, including one from last week which found it winning 52% to 41%. Still, the numbers are close, so it’s vital that legalization advocates in Oregon take the time to vote in favor of the proposal if they’re registered, and to spread the word either way.
Measure 91, at least in terms of its possession limit, would give Oregon the most progressive cannabis law in the country, allowing all adults to possess up to eight ounces (half a pound). They’d also be authorized to cultivate up to four plants, and to purchase cannabis from state-licensed retail outlets.
In Alaska, Ballot Measure 2 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and older, and would allow cannabis retail outlets to distribute the plant. The initiative, similar to Colorado’s Amendment 64, is a constitutional amendment, meaning its passage would make cannabis legalization a constitutional right in the state. Polling for the initiative shows it in a close race, making it urgent for supporters to get out the vote, and to make sure they vote themselves if they have the option.
In the U.S. capitol, Washington D.C., Initiative 71 would legalize the possession and use of up to two and a half ounces of cannabis, going a step further the district’s recently-enacted law which finds the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis a simple fine, rather than an arrestable misdemeanor. Polling from last month shows that 65% of D.C. voters support legalizing cannabis, with just 33% opposed.
Voters in South Portland, Maine, and in Berkley, Michigan, will also have the opportunity to legalize cannabis, as both cities have initiatives on their ballots which would legalize the possession of up to an ounce. In Maine, a similar initiative was approved last year in Portland with 67% of the vote. In Michigan, a similar initiative has been approved in the cities of Detroit, Lansing, Ferndale, Jackson, Flint and Grand Rapids.
In Florida, activists are hard at work attempting to get Amendment 2 approved into law. The initiative, also being voted on November 4th, would legalize the possession and distribution of medical cannabis for those who receive a recommendation from a physician. Although a University of North Florida poll released earlier this month found support for the initiative among likely voters to be at 67% – a healthy lead – other polls, such as a recent University of Florida poll, has found the initiative’s support to be at 48%, well below the 60% required for it to be passed into law since it’s a constitutional amendment. Regardless of what polling shows, the initiative has a legitimate chance of making Florida the next state to legalize medical cannabis.
As election day approaches, advocates of these proposals should do all they can to spread the word; inform their friends and family, pass the news along through social media, put together a rally to bring attention to the issue – whatever it takes!
But most importantly; vote!