Three More States Legalize Marijuana; Spoilers: None of Them Florida
Even if these midterm elections did bring shame and defeat to a pro-marijuana Democratic party, a light still shines strong in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., where the pipe-dream of legalization has become a reality. Those three states have voted to approve measures that would legalize possession of marijuana for personal (see: fun) purposes.
Alaska and Oregon will handle possession similarly. Both will feature a regulated tax system that would oversee production and sale of marijuana, as well as require use and possession to be allowed only for individuals 21 years or older.
Washington, D.C. will allow those 21 or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use, while allowing transfer (but not sale) of up to one ounce. The D.C. bill will also allow personal growth of up to 6 plants for personal use.
Legalization of marijuana in D.C. still faces a challenge: its status as a district allows our now-very-Republican Congress to overrule district laws.
In Florida, a measure to legalize medical marijuana use was turned down after a close vote. Although supporters of the bill were a large majority with 58% of the vote, their proposal fell short 2% from the 60% that would be required, since the vote would have added changes to Florida’s constitution.
Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, spoke of what he perceives as backlash from those opposed to legalization. “The more people hear details about legalization, whether it is details of specific laws or details of experiences in Colorado or Washington, they are turned off from legalization,” Sabet said.
“We’re so far from national legalization at this point, and the recent and sudden success of legalization advocates two years ago has started a counter movement. This discussion is far from over.”
Conversely, Guam became the first U.S. territory to legalize medical marijuana to treat debilitating diseases. All hope for the cause of marijuana legalization is far from lost.