Alaska, DC, and Oregon Voters Legalize Marijuana

by | Nov 5, 2014


State and local governments continued going their own way on marijuana laws in elections Tuesday, with voters in the sates of Alaska and Oregon, along with United States capital city Washington, DC, approving ballot measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. All three jurisdictions already had laws allowing medical marijuana use, while Alaska also already had legal recreational use but not legal sale of marijuana.

Also in the Tuesday elections, legalization of medical marijuana passed in the US territory of Guam and received a 58% majority vote in the state of Florida. The Florida ballot measure, however, did not pass because state law imposed a 60% supermajority vote requirement for victory.

As with prior marijuana law liberalizations in other states, the changes in law approved Tuesday are unique approaches that will find their place in America’s developing patchwork quilt of marijuana laws that is increasingly resembling the diverse, though nowhere absolutely prohibited, legal status of alcohol in America.

While some American politicians and drug war beneficiaries continue to promote disinformation concerning marijuana, more state and local governments continue to join the trend toward greater respect for the right to use marijuana. This trend shows no signs of reversing.

Under pressure from the steady push of state and local governments’ marijuana law changes, it appears that the US Congress is starting to backtrack on some of the decades-long US government war on marijuana. Majority votes in the US House of Representatives in May supported requiring the US government to respect state hemp and medical marijuana laws. These votes followed the enactment earlier in the year of a change in US law to allow limited growing of hemp for research purposes where growing hemp is legal under state law.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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