Oregon, Washington D.C. And Alaska Legalize Marijuana
As of Tuesday night, a healthy majority of voters have said yes to recreational marijuana in Oregon, Washington D.C. and Alaska.
Oregon’s new law was projected to be approved at 11:52 pm EST on Tuesday, according to NPR. About 65 percent of the vote had been tallied by that time, and almost 54 percent of voters were in favor of legalizing marijuana, while 46 percent were against. CNN reports that Oregon’s new law will legalize “personal possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana” for anyone age 21 or older. The state will also set up a regulatory system as part of its liquor control agency to oversee the commercial production, sale and distribution and of weed.
In D.C., 20,727 people voted in favor as of 9:09 pm EST, according to NPR; that’s 65 percent of voters, in contrast with the 29.5 percent who voted against. The district’s proposal will allow anyone over 21 years of age to possess as much as 2 ounces of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six plants in their own home. They’ll also be able to “transfer” 1 ounce of weed to another person, although they won’t legally be able to sell it, says CNN.
Alaska’s voters decided to legalize marijuana by a slimmer margin: 52 percent for and 48 percent against. The state’s new laws will be similar to Oregon’s, with a marijuana control board that will oversee and regulate the marijuana business. As we’ve previously explored, Alaska has a long history of legalizing and criminalizing marijuana; since 2003, it has been legal for an adult to possess up to 4 ounces of the drug in their own home, but illegal for them to possess it outside the home.
The Alaska Dispatch News reports that it will take 90 days for the new law to be certified. Once it is, the new marijuana control board will have nine months to create marijuana regulations.
Now that the campaign is over, it’s time to establish a robust regulatory system that sets an example for other states,” said Taylor Bickford, spokesman for the pro-legalization Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, according to the Dispatch News. “A regulated marijuana market will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and create good jobs for Alaskans. Law enforcement will be able to spend their time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws.”
These states follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, which recently legalized marijuana. In Colorado, pot users must be 21 or older, and if they’re using recreational marijuana, they have to purchase it from a licensed retail store. Colorado residents can possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana, according to Colorado.gov. Washington’s laws are similar; they allow adults to possess up to 1 ounce of weed for private personal use, but impose a fine on anyone who consumes their stash in public.
Voter approval means that there are now four U.S. states and one district with legalized recreational marijuana, plus 19 states that allow medical marijuana. You can view a handy map here to see which states allow pot and which states are still firmly against it… for now.