Cannabis in America

States to Watch Today: Marijuana Laws On the Ballot in Oregon, Alaska, DC

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It’s been a truly whirlwind few years for marijuana legalization. In 2012, voters in Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana use in those states. Others continue to decriminalize marijuana and allow its use for medical purposes. Today Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia will vote on whether or not to legalize marijuana. How do these laws stack up? Check out the infographic below, based on information from Measure 91 in Oregon, Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska, and Ballot Initiative 71 in DC.

Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia aren’t the only places considering marijuana legalization today. The cities of Lewistown and South Portland, Maine, are going to vote on whether or not to legalize it — Portland, Maine has already made it legal for adults to own less than an ounce of the substance. In addition, votes continue on legalizing medical marijuana. If the initiative currently up for a vote in Florida passes, it would make the Sunshine State the twenty-fourth to legalize marijuana, as well as the first southern state.

Regardless of how these particular measures do, there’s a good chance that we’ll see more states starting to legalize marijuana in the very near future. The national opinion on marijuana has changed rapidly. Polls fluctuate, but the amount of Americans who believe legalizing marijuana would be in the best interest of the nation hovers around 50 percent. In addition, most Americans don’t think that jail time should be served for small amounts of marijuana, which is now very much a “soft” drug; it doesn’t receive the same kind of punishment as more addictive and harmful drugs.

The progress in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia might not mean that we suddenly see a large wave of marijuana legalization across the country — it will still be illegal under federal law. But it will be interesting to see if any other states join Colorado and Washington this year.

Editor’s note: The infographic in this article was updated November 5, 2014 to reflect each vote’s outcome.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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