Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Oregon, Alaska, Washington D.C. vote to legalize pot; Florida rejects medical marijuana measure

Legalization of marijuana passed in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, while voters in Florida shot down a measure to legalize medical marijuana.

About 70 percent of Washington D.C. voters backed Initiative 71, which would allow residents and visitors age 21 and older "to legally possess as much as two ounces of marijuana and to grow up to three marijuana plants at home," Aaron Davis reports for The Washington Post. "Leading candidates for mayor and the D.C. Council have vowed to quickly sign the measure into law. A majority of the council also pledged that if approved by voters, they would submit follow-up legislation to Congress next year establishing a system to sell and tax the drug in the District."

"The twin measures will become law, as District bills do, unless Congress vetoes them and the president agrees that the local measures should be halted," Davis writes. "That complex layer of federal oversight could thrust Congress and President Obama into the middle of a rapidly evolving national debate." (Post photo by Michael Williamson: Advocates for legalized marijuana in Washington D.C.)

In Oregon, marijuana will become legal for recreational use on July 1, 2015, Noelle Crombie reports for The Oregonian. Beginning July 1, "people 21 and older will be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in a public place and up to 8 ounces in their home. The law also allows up to four marijuana plants per household."

The Alaskan measure passed by a narrow 52 to 48 percent vote, Suzanna Caldwell and Laurel Andrews report for Alaska Dispatch News. "The initiative will not become law until 90 days after the election is certified, which is expected to be in late November. Per the law, the state can then create a marijuana control board—expected to be housed under the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. That group will then have nine months to craft regulations dealing with how marijuana businesses will operate."

A "proposed constitutional amendment to make Florida the 24th state and the first in the South to allow medical marijuana was defeated after falling short of the 60 percent support needed to pass, according to groups both for and against the measure," Shelby Sebens reports for Reuters.

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