Republicans and Marijuana Big 2014 Election Winners

Measure 91 supporters rejoice at the news that Oregon had become the third state to legalize marijuana last night. (The Oregonian)

As the nation once again shifted to the right on Election Day, marijuana somehow rode the coattails.

"It's just a fantastic victory, all the more so because it's in a non-presidential election year," DPA executive Ethan Nadelmann crowed about marijuana legalization victories in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, DC. "I think it bodes very well for 2016 and the years beyond."

The only major loss was in Florida, where 58% of the vote was not enough to pass the medical-marijuana amendment (it required 60%).

Marijuana won by 54-46% and 52-48% margins in Oregon and Alaska, respectively. So much for the argument that your can't win a pot ballot referendum in a midterm election. Like Nadlemann says, this bodes well for 2016, when California and a number of other states are expected to have marijuana measures on the ballot.

In Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012, nay-saying Gov. John Hickenlooper barely won re-election. In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber did the same but more convincingly. Hopefully, he will be more supportive of the state's new law than Hickenlooper has been in Colorado. His reticence to back marijuana legalization almost cost him his job.

Beware the wrath of the pot smoker. We may have difficulty with short-term memory, but our recollections are very long. And Hickenlopper's negative comments about marijuana have not been forgotten.

It appears Hickenlooper got lucky. Now it's back to work in Colorado, ironing out the kinks in the state's legal pot program.

Meanwhile, Oregon will test out a new law that calls for considerably less taxes than those in Colorado and its neighbor to the North, Washington. Some business owners there wondered before the election if Oregon's low-tax approach will siphon money from Washington. It probably will where it's a short distance to go. The marketplace will adjust accordingly.

So it's come to this: Side-by-side states competing for the cannabis cash, rather than fighting to prevent arrests and discrimination. 

Let the ganja games begin. 

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.