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Cannabis Wins Big in 2014

Because young voter turnout during midterm elections is low, democrats and progressive issues don’t often do well.

Low turnout didn’t stop marijuana from showing up big on Tuesday night. Cannabis legalization won all but one of its contests. Florida’s Amendment 2 lost 58-42%.  “How is 58% not a majority”, you may ask?  It is, but ballot initiatives need 60% to pass. This is just something else politicians have done to stifle democracy. The moral of the story is that a majority of Florida voters want medical marijuana. This will come back in 2016.

Here’s a rundown of last night’s results:

Alaska: Alaskans passed Ballot Measure 2 with 52% of the vote, legalizing cannabis for anyone over the age of 21.  Under the measure, cannabis will be regulated and taxed similar to alcohol.

Florida: Florida’s Amendment 2, legalizing medical cannabis, failed 58-42.  In Florida, ballot initiatives need 60% to pass.  The medical issue will likely be brought forward in Florida’s 2015 legislative session to amend and expand an existing law that legalized very low THC cannabis earlier this year.  Also, expect another ballot initiative in 2016 that will legalize, tax and regulate cannabis sales similar to alcohol.

Maine: The city of South Portland voted 52-48 in favor of legalizing possession of cannabis by anyone over the age of 21, while Lewiston voted 45-55 against the same measure.  The City of Portland approved a similar measure in 2013.  This is largely a symbolic win that sets the table for a state-wide ballot initiative to fully legalize, tax and regulate cannabis in 2016.

Oregon: Voters passed Measure 91 by 54-46, an initiative to legalize and regulate cannabis similar to alcohol.  Oregon joins Colorado, Washington and Alaska as the four states to fully legalize, tax and regulate cannabis sales to anyone over 21.

Washington D.C.: Voters overwhelming supported Initiative 71 (69-31), legalizing possession and at-home cultivation of cannabis by anyone over the age of 21.  The nation’s capitol is the third east coast city to legalize cannabis for adults (after South Portland and Portland, Maine).

In total, four states and three cities have now legalized cannabis for adults, in addition to 23 states that have legalized medical cannabis.  This issue will accelerate with multiple states voting on full legalization in 2016.

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