Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. Vote to Legalize Marijuana

Wednesday, Nov 5, 2014

Two more states, accompanied by our nation’s capitol, have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

While Florida’s bid for medical marijuana didn’t get enough votes to pass, the passage of recreational laws in Oregon and Alaska has doubled the number of states that have decided to rethink federal cannabis prohibition. It is clear that the growing majority of voters who support legalization will be more difficult to ignore than ever before.

Here are the numbers: Oregon passed Measure 91 with 55% approval, while Alaska — a little too close for comfort — passed Ballot Measure 2 with just over 52% approval. Washington D.C.’s Initiative 71 was a shoe-in, with almost 65% support and less than 30% opposed.

Although the Washington D.C. measure could be challenged by the federal government, which is granted certain political powers over the district given its unique status, the capital city’s marijuana legislation may find an unexpected ally in U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky. Paul could soon be leading a subpanel with oversight of D.C. laws, and he’s expressed that he has no interest in interfering with the district’s Initiative 71, Roll Call reports. “I’m not for having the federal government get involved,” Paul said. “I really haven’t taken a stand on … the actual legalization. I haven’t really taken a stand on that, but I’m against the federal government telling them they can’t.”