When all the ballots from the Mid-Terms were finally counted last night, there was rejoicing from some camps, moaning in others, a whole lot of lukewarm shrugs. The cannabis industry overall made out really well, we are happy to say.
Alaska and Oregon both approved ballot measures to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults over 21. That makes them the 3rd and 4th states to approve of cannabis for adult use. Congratulations, OR and AK! That is a huge achievement.
In Washington, D.C., personal possession and cultivation of cannabis was legalized -- hopefully paving the way to create retail dispensaries in the nation's capital. Way to go D.C.!
And congrats to the teams that REALLY made strides in pushing all these initiatives to the ballot this year, and for rallying the public to get out there and VOTE yesterday--the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance. Huge props to them. The New York Times reported earlier last week that 84% percent of the $867,000 raised by legalization proponents at Yes on Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska has come from the Marijuana Policy Project. Similarly the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance (backed by investor George Soros) contributed more than $780,000 to the initiative in Oregon, making up about 35 percent of the cash raised by the main committee supporting legalization.
Some smaller victories:
- Voters in the Michigan cities of Saginaw, Port Huron, Mt. Pleasant, Berkley, Huntington Woods, and Pleasant Ridge approved measures to decrease or remove penalties for small amounts of cannabis possession.
- South Portland, Maine became the second city on the East Coast to make marijuana legal for adults at the local level. MPP ran both of the campaigns — as well as the successful campaign in Portland last year — to build support for a statewide legalization initiative we will be supporting in 2016.
The only major electoral loss for cannabis last night was in Florida. While voters there still overwhelmingly supported medical cannabis access with 58% of the vote, the constitutional amendment unfortunately needed 60% support to become law. So we still have some work to do there.
Now, For the Bad News
Surprisingly, the biggest loser in this year’s election has turned out to be the climate. Those now officially in charge of the Senate are the biggest climate change deniers in Congress. As Mother Jones reported earlier, the likely candidate for chairmen of the Environment + Public Works Committee is Sen. James Inhofe. A little taste of where he’s at: two years ago, he published a book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. He also opposes Obama’s proposed rule to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
In addition, Washington State’s carbon tax failed to impress, and the Keystone XL Pipeline most likely will be approved by the Republican-controlled House.
So, you win some you lose some. As cannabis advocates, it was a great day of victories across the USA. As citizens of the planet, Mother Earth may be in more grave danger than ever before.
Looks like we’ll all have some watchdogging to do.