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Marijuana among hot topics featured on 2014 ballots

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August 12, 2014

By Brittany Clingen

Voters will be weighing in on some of the nation's most contentious topics during the November 4, 2014, elections. Decisions made at the ballot box will establish important precedents and set the tone for future elections, based on which measures are approved and defeated. For further analyses and information on 2014 ballot measures, see this report.


Voting on Marijuana
Marijuana Leaf-smaller.gif
Ballot Measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
Marijuana-related measures have been prominent fixtures on statewide ballots for nearly two decades. The November 2012 elections saw the recreational use of marijuana legalized for the first time in two states - Colorado and Washington. Marijuana activists have harnessed this momentum to push their agenda in other states during the 2014 election cycle. At least four measures addressing marijuana are certified for statewide ballots this year, and one measure still has the potential to achieve ballot access for the November election.

Certified measures:

  • Alaska Ballot Measure 2: Alaskans will determine whether their state should follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. If approved in November, Ballot Measure 2 will allow people age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. It will also make the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana paraphernalia legal.[1][2]
  • Florida Amendment 2: In Florida, voters will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana. If Amendment 2 is approved, the measure would specifically guarantee that medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under state law, that a licensed physician is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions for issuing medical marijuana to a person diagnosed with a "debilitating medical condition" under state law, and that registered medical marijuana treatment centers are not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under state law. The measure defines a "debilitating medical condition" as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease "or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."[3] The measure has been enjoying strong support among voters, with the most recent poll showing 88 percent support its passage.
  • Oregon Measure 91: If voters approve Measure 91 in November, Oregon will join neighboring Washington in legalizing recreational marijuana. The initiative would allow the recreational use of the drug by people ages 21 and older, permitting possession of up to eight ounces of "dried" marijuana and four plants. Additionally, the measure would task the Oregon Liquor Control Commission with regulating sales of the drug.[4][5] The initiative is being sponsored by the group "New Approach Oregon." Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner, hoped legislators would refer the measure to the ballot. However, the legislature failed to do so before the 2014 session ended on March 10, 2014.[4] Supporters of the measure have raised over $1.5 million, while those against it have yet to mount any formal opposition.
  • Washington Advisory Vote No. 8: Voters in Washington will weigh in on a non-binding advisory question addressing marijuana and taxes. The measure asks voters whether the Washington State Legislature should repeal or maintain the elimination of agricultural tax preferences for various aspects of the marijuana industry. This measure is the result of legislation passed in Senate Bill 6505.[6]

Potential measure:

  • Oklahoma State Question 768: If supporters can successfully gather 155,216 valid signatures, then voters in Oklahoma will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The measure would permit the use, sale and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes and classify it as an herbal drug regulated by the Oklahoma Health Department.[7] A 2013 poll indicated that the measure had significant support, boasting a 71.2 percent approval rate among those polled.