We’ve told you already today about the close race in Florida to legalize medical marijuana, but there’s at least three other major marijuana votes today to keep an eye on.
In Alaska, Ballot Measure 2 would legalize recreational marijuana sales and allow the state to tax and regulate the market. Adults could carry up to an ounce on them at any time in public and can also grow up to six plants at home (with three in harvest at any one time). Home growers can also keep all that they grow at home, even if it is over one ounce.
And in Oregon, Measure 91 would legalize the possession of up to eight ounces of pot and the cultivation of up to four plants at a time for adults 21 and up; cannabis could be sold at the retail level, and it would be taxed $35 per ounce wholesale.
Both initiatives have been close in recent polling, with the pro-pot vote slightly edging out the anti-cannabis crowd. What hasn’t been close has been the support for legalizing marijuana in Washington D.C. Many polls in recent weeks have shown support of 60 percent or more.
D.C.’s Initiative 71 would make the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana in public legal for adults 21 and up. Those same adults could also grow up to six plants in their home, with three in flower, and sales through authorized retail outlets would also be allowed. The bill calls for taxing legal cannabis sales, but does not detail any tax rates or figures per D.C. law. Any tax rates would be decided later by a city council vote.
The bill would also have to be approved by the U.S. Congress, either outright our by refusing to vote on the measure in the 90-day window they have to veto any D.C. laws.
There are other smaller marijuana votes around the country, including in Michigan where several Detroit suburbs will vote to decriminalize marijuana.There are also limited legalization laws on the ballot in Maine, where voters in Lewiston and South Portland will vote to decriminalize pot the same way that Portland, Maine voters did last year.
Drug Policy Alliance director Ethan Nadelmann says that if Oregon or Alaska fail to legalize limited amounts of pot for recreational use, it could hurt chances for a much broader push in 2016 for states like California. But he remains hopeful.
“If we lose in Oregon, it will shift the national frame a little bit,” Nadelmann told NBC News. “But it doesn’t change the strategy and it doesn’t change the tactics,” he continued. “A generation from now people will still step back and look at the prohibition of marijuana and say, what the heck was that about?”