Washington joins Colorado on this historic evening in passing their marijuana legalization initiative, I-502, in a 55% to 45% vote (with 50% of the vote tallied). The Seattle Times has called it a victory for I-502.
The significance of these events cannot be understated. Tonight, for the first time in history, two states have legalized and regulated the adult use and sale of cannabis. We know must focus on the important work of implementation and begin to encourage other states to adopt these rational reforms. NORML will have much, much more as we progress. For now, we would just like to thank all the dedicated activists and supporters who made this night possible. We SMOKED THE VOTE and will now enter a new chapter in the history of marijuana law reform.
Marijuana prohibition might have not died completely tonight, but it certainly has been put on life support.
In a historic vote that will reverberate around the nation, the Denver NBC affiliated has projected that Colorado will pass Amendment 64 and will legalize marijuana. By a vote of 53% to 47% (with 38% of the vote tallied) news networks have begun to confirm that Colorado’s Amendment 64 has been passed by voters.
This marks the first time in history that a state has moved to legalize marijuana outright for adult consumers. This vote shows that, like alcohol prohibition before it, cannabis prohibition is a failed, unpopular policy that largely relies on state and local enforcement. Alcohol prohibition came to an end when a sufficient number of states enacted legislation repealing the state’s alcohol prohibition laws. With states no longer doing the federal government’s bidding to enforce an unpopular law, the Feds eventually had no choice but to abandon the policy altogether. History is now repeating itself.
Until now, no state law has defined cannabis as a legal commodity. Some state laws do provide for a legal exception that allows for certain qualified patients to possess specific amounts of cannabis as needed. But, until this evening, no state in modern history has classified cannabis itself as a legal product that may be lawfully possessed and consumed by adults. Thanks to the support from their voters, Colorado has no taken that brave first step.
Stay tuned for more information on this monumentous event, as we’ll be writing much, much more about it in the coming days. Also, continue watching NORML’s live election coverage here to see if Washington and Oregon will follow Colorado’s lead.
With a current vote total of 63% in favor and 37% opposed (with 40% of the vote tallied), NORML projects that Massachuetts is set to become the eighteenth state to allow for the physician supervised use of marijuana. Massachusetts now joins its fellow Northeastern states of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maine in recognizing and allowing for the medical use of cannabis.
When implemented, this law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients. To qualify, a patient must have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis.
It will also allow patients to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for their personal medical use, the amount of which will be determined by the Department of Public Health. A patient could designate a personal caregiver, at least 21 years old, who could assist with the patient’s medical use of marijuana but would be prohibited from consuming that marijuana. Patients and caregivers would have to register with DPH by submitting the physician’s certification. It will also allow for the approval of up to 35 non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers.
NORML will have more information as this issue progresses. Stay tuned to norml.org for the latest and keep watching our live election coverage to see if our reform measures pass in other states.