Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Next Seven States to Legalize Marijuana?

David Borden
Stop The Drug War

Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson continues his coverage of marijuana legalization with a not unjustifiably optimistic article, "The Next Seven States to Legalize Pot." Dickinson's predictions: Oregon, California, Nevada, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and Alaska. Some of the states are more intuitively obvious than others, such as California, and even Oregon despite the loss. But Dickinson offers reasonable reasons to be hopeful about the others.

Map Source - Rolling Stones
Oregon's Measure 80 is an interesting case. While it was reported as losing 45-55, the pro total actually crept up to 46.3% when all the returns were finally counted. This was with virtually no funding, though perhaps benefiting from discussion of the issue in neighboring Washington, and with language that was far more radical in most respects than either Washington's or Colorado's measures. With a better-written initiative and the funding that would likely attract, and with legalization happening next door as Dickinson pointed out, Oregon could be a winner soon -- if not 2014 and the expected more conservative turnout expected in an off year election, then in 2016.

Also interesting about Oregon, is that I thought the loss there while two other states passed would settle the debate over how to write an initiative -- whether to poll and do focus groups and write one that the research says can pass, or to just go for broke with the language you like -- the two initiatives that did the former won, the one that did the latter lost. But given how well Measure 80 did despite having no funding has some activists including a number of friends of mine saying that we don't have to compromise, or compromise as much, in order to win. If the funds come on board, the money and the real campaign it would enable could make up those 3.7 percentage points, is the reasoning.


I don't believe the money would make up those percentage points. I believe it is more likely that there is a swath of voters who agree with legalization in principle, but are picky about what kind of initiative they would approve, and that initiatives written the right way for them (or for the opinion leaders they take seriously like the former law enforcement and others who supported Washington's I-502) probably swung a significant percentage of voters. I think that Oregon was a special case, because of what was happening at the same time in Washington. And I think that a real campaign in Oregon, would have resulted in a greater amount of discussion about the details of the Oregon initiative (especially if polls suggested it had a chance), increasing the negative impact that certain aspects of it would have had on the aforementioned picky legalization supporters.

But do I know that for sure? No. Oregon's vote should certainly be studied to see what can be learned. So should Colorado's, a system that is pretty different from and a lot more open than Washington's. (At a Cato forum last week, former DEA chief Asa Hutchinson scarcely even mentioned Washington.)

One way or another, it is very likely that a page of history turned last month. Whether as many as seven states will go for legalization in the next few years, or whether Rolling Stone has called all the right ones, only time can tell. But the optimism is certainly appropriate -- time is on the side of marijuana legalization, and I hope for overall drug reform as well.

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why does flyover country hate freedom?

Brandt Hardin said...

The War on Drugs failed $1 Trillion ago! This money could have been used for outreach programs to clean up the bad end of drug abuse by providing free HIV testing, free rehab, and clean needles. Harmless drugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damaged economy. Cannabis can provide hemp for countless natural resources and the tax revenue from sales alone would pull every state in our country out of the red! Vote Teapot, PASS IT, and legalize it. Voice you opinion with the movement and read more on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/vote-teapot-2011.html

Anonymous said...

Really? Flyover country isn't against liberty. Quite the opposite. In point of fact, supporting abortion is anti liberty. Anti 2nd amendment isn't exactly freedom. So, who,exactly hates freedom?

Anonymous said...

This "failed" war on drugs has been an absolute success for THEM. Private prisons, forced sterilization, children taken from parents, etc. They are just fine. WE are the true victims and do what? Like everything else, we SAY we'll get involved, write our congressman, etc. reality? fear and procrastination.

tim sweeney said...

That's right, in their view, they are winning, because they are the ones with unlimited budgets, they are the ones who are taking away our guns, confiscating property, cash, seizing all your stuff without even a warrant. There used to be a legal concept called illegal search and seizure. Nowadays they can shoot and kill you in your own home and get away with murder. Thanks to the Patriot Act. Which came about they took down the World Trade Center and blamed it on terrorists, most of whom are still alive today. Sign the 911 Truth petition. Time to hold the real terrorists accountable. Time to stop the madness, while we still can. Before they seize our guns.
Time to warterboard Bush and Cheney, let's see if they will talk, since it's not really torture, it's just patriotism.

Anonymous said...

http://adask.wordpress.com/category/man-or-other-animals/

http://iamnotananimal.org

Drug laws presume the people to be a herd of animals.

BADGER BADGERISM said...

SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ILLEGAL
NO GOVERNMENT HAS ANY RIGHT TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY OWN BODY...IF THEY THINK THEY DO THEY CAN SHOVE THEIR OPINIONS WHERE the SUN DON'T SHINE

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