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Voters to Decide Future of GM Food, Gambling, Marijuana, and More

While voters in Virginia and New Jersey vote for a governor and voters in the biggest cities around the country decide their new mayors, voters will also have the chance to vote on dozens of referendums that will have huge effects. Call it direct democracy at its best.

Perhaps the most important referendum, in terms of setting the tone for future referendums around the country, is Washington state’s Genetically Modified Food bill. Last year, companies like Pepsi, Monsanto, and General Mills spent nearly $50 million to defeat the bill but there has been a surge in support for labeling genetically modified food. A win in Washington could quickly lead consumer advocates in other states to push for similar referendums.

The biggest news out of Colorado is that 11 counties will vote on secession from the state, an unlikely bid following the state’s legalization of gay marriage and marijuana. More likely, are new taxes. Voters will decide whether to approve a 25 percent tax on marijuana while Telluride, Colorado will vote on a one cent per ounce soda tax. Colorado will also vote on a $1 billion income tax increase to support a new school funding program.

On the topic of marijuana, voters in Portland, Maine will vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana which would make it the first eastern area to outright legalize it.

In New York, voters will decide the fate Andrew Cuomo’s proposed seven new casinos that he hopes will increase employment and tax revenue. Voters in East Boston will vote on whether to allow Suffolk Downs to build a $1 billion casino at the existing race track. Voters in Palmer, Massachusetts will vote on whether to allow Mohegan Sun to build a new casino in their county.

In New Jersey, voters will vote on a minimum wage increase to $8.25 that would also be increased based on cost of living every subsequent year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. Voters in small Seattle suburb SeaTac will vote on an increase to $15 per hour in a state with the highest minimum wage in the country ($9.19).

(Image: Rosalee Yagihara)

About the author

Igor Derysh is the Managing Editor of Latest. com and a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sun Sentinel, and AOL News. His work has been criticized in even more publications. Follow him on Twitter @IgorDerysh