Four Major Marijuana Initiatives on the Ballot

On Nov. 4, marijuana advocates were hoping to extend the legalization wave in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia, and pass medical cannabis in Florida.

Oregon - Measure 91 > WON

Styled after Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in Colorado in 2012, Measure 91 would set up a state-regulated marijuana market. Home growing (four plants per household) would be allowed. Unlike Washington's I-502, there is no DUID provision written into the proposed law. Taxes and fees would be much less than those imposed in Colorado and Washington. Oregon doesn't have a state sales tax. The flat tax per ounce from processor to retailer would be $35. License fees would be $1,000 annually. Run by New Approach Oregon and funded largely by the Drug Policy Alliance, Measure 91 currently has a 7-point lead in the polls.

More: Dissecting Oregon's Marijuana Regulation Initiative 

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Alaska - Measure 2 > WON

Measure 2 would fix the confusion over marijuana law in Alaska by regulating it and setting up the framework for a legal market. In 1975, Alaska's Supreme Court essentially legalized possession and small-scale grow-ops (24 plants) in the state. Over the years, there've been many efforts to overturn that decision. Now voters can decide for themselves. Measure 2 allows  for possession of up to one ounce and the growing of six plants per person. The excise tax from processor to retailer would be $50 per ounce. Drugged driving would be treated similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol, though no amount is specified. Run by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska and funded largely by the Marijuana Policy Project, Measure 2 is currently even in the polls.

More: Alaska: Next State to Legalize Marijuana?

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Florida - Amendment  2 > LOST

The most contentious of the three state ballot initiatives is being played out in the Sunshine State, which would be the first in the South to legalize medical marijuana if passed. The big problem, since it's an amendment to the state constitution, is it requires 60% of the vote. The amendment changes the law to read: "The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law." Patients with cancer, MS, glaucoma, hep C, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Crohn's, Parkinson's and "other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential risks" would qualify. No home growing would be allowed. Florida would license dispensaries and processors. Big money has flooded into the state on both sides, led by Sheldon Adelson on the No on 2 side to the tune of $4 million. John Morgan, whose United for Care group is leading the Yes on 2 charge, has pitched in $3.5 million of his own money. Amendment 2 currently has an 8-point lead in the polls

More: Florida's Drive for Medical Marijuana

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Washington, DC - Initiative 71 > WON

Hot on the heels of marijuana decriminalization going into effect in July in the nation's capitol comes Initiative 71, which would go quite a bit farther in allowing possession of two ounces and home growing (six plants) without any penalty whatsoever. It falls short of setting up a commercial retail market for marijuana and could run into interference from Congress if passed. Run by the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, Initiative 71 currently has a 16-point lead in the polls.

More: Washington, DC Decriminalizes Marijuana

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

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