WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alaska voters approved a ballot measure to end marijuana prohibition on Tuesday, capping off a historic election year for marijuana policy reform. Voters in Oregon adopted a similar measure earlier in the evening, making it the third state in the nation to end marijuana prohibition, following Colorado and Washington.
Measure 91 in Oregon and Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska make possession of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older, and they establish systems in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. At the time of this release, Measure 91 was leading 54-46 with 75% of votes counted. Ballot Measure 2 was leading 52-48 with 97% of precincts reporting.
Washington, D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 by a margin of 69-31, removing all penalties for possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 years of age and older.
Voters in South Portland, Maine approved a measure 52-48 making it the second East Coast city to make marijuana legal for adults at the local level. A similar measure received 45% of the vote in Lewiston. Voters in Portland, the state’s largest city, overwhelmingly approved a similar measure 67-33 in November 2013. The Marijuana Policy Project, which backed the initiatives, has filed a committee to support a statewide ballot initiative in 2016 to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine.
Nearly 58% of Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which would have allowed seriously ill people to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The measure failed because 60% approval was required for adoption.
Statement from Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project:
“The results are in, and marijuana prohibition is on its way out. From Alaska to Maine, voters are calling for more sensible, evidence-based marijuana policies. Americans are fed up with wasteful and ineffective laws that punish adults for using a less harmful substance than alcohol.
“The folks trying to keep marijuana illegal are relying on the same scare tactics today that they have relied on for decades, but voters just aren’t falling for it anymore. The results are particularly encouraging since voter turnout during a midterm election is typically smaller, older, and more conservative. Clearly, support for ending marijuana prohibition spans the political and ideological spectrums.
“Proposals to regulate marijuana like alcohol are headed for the ballots in at least five states in 2016, and they’re being considered in legislatures around the country. This year’s election was a large step forward, but the 2016 election will be a huge leap toward ending marijuana prohibition in this country once and for all.”