Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

2013 Stoner Voter Guide: Five Races to Watch

Last November, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. The off-year election tomorrow is not as exciting, except if you live in Portland, Maine, Colorado and MIchigan, where important pro-pot initiatives are on the ballot.

• In Portland, voting Yes on Question 1 would remove civil penalties for possessing up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in the city of 66,000. Currently, Maine is decriminalized, but still allows for a fine of up to $600 for small-scale possession.

• In Colorado, Prop AA, if passed, would impose a 10% sales tax on marijuana in the state as well as a 15% excise tax. The marijuana sales tax would be in addition to the state's already-existing sales tax, and that additional sales tax could even get hiked up to 15% if the legislature decided to do so. Colorado NORML opposes the proposition.

• In New York, Democratic mayoral candidate  Bill de Blasio has a commanding 40 point lead over Republican opponent Joe Lhota. Both support further decriminalizing marijuana in the state, but disagree on the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk tactic, which had been ruled unconstitutional until an appeals court overturned that decision on Oct. 31. De Blasio opposes stop and frisk and says about marijuana, "Arresting people for displays of small amounts is ridiculous."

• Also in New York, the candidates for Brooklyn District Attorney, Democrat Ken Thompson and Republican incumbent Charles Hynes, have locked horns over how to handle marijuana arrests in the borough/county and the state. Thompson favors further decrim, Hynes doesn't. The country of Kings (a.k.a Brooklyn) has the most pot arrests in the state.

• In Michigan, voters in three cities - Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing - can tell police to deprioritize marijuana arrests. In recent years, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Ypsilanti have done just that. In Jackson, police are not opposing the measure.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

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