The Big Election Issue You Haven’t Heard About: Marijuana Legalization

News / Politics

The Big Election Issue You Haven’t Heard About: Marijuana Legalization

By: Dave Odegard 86

On Monday, the below video was uploaded to YouTube. It features a middle-aged, presumably suburban, mom sitting in a coffee shop and talking to the camera about a hot-button political issue: legalized pot. She then, with the preface of “I don’t like it personally,” lists the major points for a pro-legalization argument: regulation, freeing up of law enforcement, and serious revenue from taxation. 

It’s the first foray in a million dollar ad campaign by the group New Approach Washington, which is pushing to get voters in Washington State to approve of Ballot Initiative 502 on election day. If passed, I-502 would completely legalize marijuana in the state.

It’s actually an issue that a lot of voters across the country are going to be deciding on this November. And while the economy and job growth are getting the bulk of attention via the Presidential showdown between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the topic of making pot completely legal has sort of slipped under the radar.

There are three states which have the issue on their ballots this year: Washington, Colorado, and Oregon. In Colorado, it’s Amendment 64. In Oregon, it’s known as Measure 80. All three states already allow for the legal growing, selling, and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

This isn’t the first time that the voters in a state have had a chance to make marijuana legal. Readers may recall California’s failed Proposition 19 from the 2010 election. Two years ago, voters in the first state to pass a medical marijuana law chose by a margin of 7% (46.6% for, 53.5% against) to NOT completely legalize marijuana. 

But this is the first time that people are voting on the matter since a national poll revealed a slim majority of Americans are in favor, or at least okay with the idea, of making weed legal.

And looking at the numbers for those three states, there’s a good chance that one or more of those laws could pass. Polls are showing that a majority of the people of Colorado and Washington look like they may actually vote for legalization. According to the most recent surveys, it’s 55% for vs. 32% against in Washington and 61% for vs. 27% against in Colorado.

So what happens if any of these laws pass? Well, it’s actually difficult to say.

The biggest obstacle that any state legalizing pot will face? The Feds. Despite amending state law, marijuana is still illegal under federal law and given the recent stepping up of federal drug enforcement raiding of medical facilities that were okayed by the states within they were based – it could become a serious problem

Experts also predict that we’ll see an uptick in marijuana consumption across the country, both legal and illegal, as well as a probable drop in prices, again both legal and illegal.  

Of course, people still have to vote on the issue and November is months away. 

 [Pic via Flickr – Wiros]

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