Recreational Marijuana Legalized in Oregon and Alaska

Marijuana leafOregon and Alaska voted to legalize recreational marijuana use on Tuesday.

In Washington, D.C., residents voted to allow possession of marijuana, but not retail sales of the drug, Reuters reports.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Oregon and Alaska will follow Colorado and Washington state, which legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012.

Preliminary results indicate 54 percent of Oregon voters supported the marijuana measure, which takes effect in July 2015. Retail marijuana stores could open in 2016. In Alaska, 52 percent of voters supported legal marijuana, according to preliminary results. Once the election is certified, a state commission would have nine months to come up with regulations. Stores would be likely to open in 2016.

The Washington, D.C. measure could be halted by the U.S. Congress, which has constitutional oversight of the nation's capital, the article notes. Under the measure, adults 21 and older could possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to six plants.

Voters in Florida defeated a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana. In Maine, proposals to legalize the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana passed in South Portland and failed in Lewiston.

Opponents of legalization in Oregon said they will advocate for stricter laws aimed at limiting access to marijuana by children. Kevin Sabet, co-founder of anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said his group intends to build a broader coalition to counter pro-marijuana groups in 2016. "Tonight is going to inspire us to do better and to try harder and go after the donors we have to go after in order to level the playing field," Sabet said. "The more people that hear about legalization, the more people are uncomfortable with it. For us it's about getting our message out."

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Sunday, 22 April 2018
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