The Alaska and Oregon ballot initiatives to make marijuana legal in both states will be voted on a week from today. With the important election just another week away, here is an overview of the existing and pending legislation in each state:
In Alaska, laws eliminating criminal penalties and replacing them with civil penalties already exist for the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana. Moreover, the state has already implemented a medical marijuana program. In the upcoming election, the state will vote on Measure 2, which would establish a recreational marijuana market that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.
In Oregon, the elimination of criminal penalties associated with the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana was established over 40 years ago. In addition, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has been in place since November 1998. In the upcoming election, resident voters will be deciding on Measure 91, which serves to establish a legal adult marijuana market that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol. If the measure passes, Oregon residents will be allowed to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana at home, while being able to cultivate up to four plants. Moreover, retail sales for adults over the age of 21 would be permitted.
In the end, marijuana prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach. Alaska and Oregon voters, please take a stand on November 4 to make marijuana legal in your states. Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!