Six States To Decide On Marijuana Measures On Election Day

Historic  Propositions to Legalize Personal Use Amounts of Cannabis For All Adults Hold  Double Digit Leads In Colorado and Washington

Washington,  DC: Millions of voters will decide  on Election Day in favor of ballot measures to legalize and regulate the use of  cannabis by adults. Voters in three  states – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – will decide on statewide ballot measures to legalize the  possession and distribution of cannabis for those over 21 years of age. Voters in three additional states – Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Montana – will decide on measures to allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis by patients  with qualifying ailments. In Michigan, voters in four cities – totaling over a million  people – will decide on municipal  measures to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis.

Ballot measures  in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington hold double digit leads, according  to the latest statewide polls.

Since 1996, 17  states have enacted legislation to allow for the limited possession of cannabis  when a physician authorizes such use. In  ten of those states, voters enacted medical cannabis legislation via the  statewide initiative process. To date,  no statewide proposal to remove criminal and civil penalties for the broader,  personal possession and use of marijuana by adults has succeeded at the ballot  box.

“Cannabis  prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties,  engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research  into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts  communities of color,” said Paul Armentano, NORML’s Deputy Director. “For these  reasons, a majority of Americans are now in favor ending marijuana prohibition  and replacing it with a legal, pragmatic regulatory framework. We expect that in several states, a majority  of voters will express this preference at the ballot box on Election Day.”

A summary of  this year’s more prominent statewide and local ballot measures appears below.

ARKANSAS: Voters will decide on Measure  5, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2012, which allows authorized patients  to possess up to two and one-half ounces of cannabis for various qualifying  medical conditions, including cancer, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The measure also allows state regulators to establish not-for-profit  facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to  privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis (up to six flowering plants) if  they reside further than five miles from a state-authorized dispensary.

COLORADO: Voters will decide on  Amendment 64, which allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of  marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons  age 21 and over. Longer-term, the  measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and  distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. Voters in the state approve of the measure by  a margin of 53 percent to 43 percent, according to the latest Public Policy  Polling survey.

MASSACHUSETTS: Voters will decide on  Question 3, which eliminates statewide criminal and civil penalties related to  the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of cannabis by qualified  patients. It would also require the  state to create and regulate up to 35 facilities to produce and dispense  cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to  privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis if they are unable to access a  state-authorized dispensary. Voters in  the state approve the measure by a margin of 55 percent to 36 percent,  according to the latest Suffolk University poll.

MICHIGAN: Voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – will also decide on  Tuesday whether to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis. Voters in Detroit will decide on Proposal  M, which removes  criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to  one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21. In Flint, voters will  decide on a citizens’ initiative to amend the city code so that the possession  on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia  by those age 19 or older is no longer a criminal offense. Grand Rapids voters will act on Proposal 2, which seeks to allow local law enforcement the discretion  to ticket first-time marijuana offenders with a civil citation, punishable by a  $25 fine and no criminal record. In Ypsilanti, voters will decide on a proposal to make the local enforcement of marijuana possession offenses  the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

MONTANA: Voters will decide on  Initiative Referendum 124. A ‘no’ vote  on IR-124 would repeal newly enacted restrictions to the state’s 2004  voter-approved medical marijuana law.

OREGON: Voters will decide on Measure  80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which provides for the state-licensed  production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The measure does not impose state-licensing or  taxation requirements upon those who wish to cultivate cannabis for  non-commercial purposes.

WASHINGTON: Voters will decide on  I-502, which regulates the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana  for adults. The measure also removes  criminal penalties specific to the adult possession of up to one ounce of  cannabis for personal use. Voters in the  state back the measure by a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent, according to the latest KING 5 poll.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive  Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Additional information is also available  online at: http://norml.org/about/smoke-the-vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *