Colorado, Washington pass marijuana legalization; Oregon says no
November 7th, 2012
01:05 AM ET
2 years ago

Colorado, Washington pass marijuana legalization; Oregon says no

(CNN) - Three states voted on referendums Tuesday on legalizing marijuana for recreational use:

Colorado passes marijuana legalization, but there's a catch

Colorado voters have approved a referendum that supports the legalization of marijuana on a recreational basis.

Amendment 64 in Colorado will amend the state constitution to legalize and regulate the production, possession, and distribution of marijuana for persons age 21 and older.

"The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said in a written statement released by his office. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly."

Similar provisions on marijuana use were also on the ballot in Oregon and Washington.

Washington voters say yes to recreational use of marijuana

Washington State voters on Tuesday cast their ballots in support of an unorthodox way of raising tax revenue: marijuana legalization. The measure, Initiative 502, will legalize and regulate the production, possession and distribution of cannabis for persons age 21 and older.

The Washington referendum called for a 25% tax rate imposed on the product three times: when the grower sells it to the processor, when the processor sells it to the retailer, and when the retailer sells it to the customer. It's not clear exactly how much tax revenue legalization would bring in. Estimates for the Washington measure run as high as $500 million - a figure analysts say is overstated.

Two other states, Colorado and Oregon, were also deciding whether to legalize marijuana.

Voters in three other states - Arkansas, Massachusetts and Montana – voted Tuesday on medical marijuana referendums.

Oregon says no to legalizing marijuana

Oregon voters soundly defeated an Election Day ballot initiative that would have allowed the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults. Measure 80 would have legalized pot through state-licensed stores, allowed unlicensed cultivation and use of marijuana by adults and prohibit restrictions on hemp.


Filed under: 2012 • Colorado • Oregon • Washington
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Deborah Morgan

    The historic victories in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol will be remembered as the beginning of the end of America's marijuana prohibition. For those unfamiliar, this is exactly the path taken to lift federal prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century.

    It's wonderful that America is finally acknowledging the facts about marijuana, rather than embracing the hysteria which has no basis in fact. Good on you, Colorado and Washington! Now, President (again) Obama needs to support the will of the People and stop his useless raids...

    November 7, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  2. Texas Blazed

    Congrats to Colorado passing amendment 64!!!! Smoooooke weeeeeeed!!!!!!! Stay high America

    November 7, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Congrats to Colorado and Washington!

    November 7, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  4. seokungfu

    Some baby steps towards huge leaps for a freer humanity !

    November 7, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  5. Texas Blazed

    Alright Colorado! Stay high.

    November 7, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  6. Max Brooks

    There is absolutely no reason for marijuana to be illegal without being hypocritical towards other things like alcohol and tobacco.

    I look forward to the State vs Federal showdown that these ballot measures will create

    November 7, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  7. DJ

    Undocumented immigrants are illegal under Federal law, but states have sanctuary laws. Why are states worried about Federal law on this?

    November 7, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  8. RobC

    Tax revenue will far exceed expectations. Finally, a breakthrough toward sanity.

    November 7, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  9. dwight peters

    how are the feds going to respond to the marijuana legalization in washington and colorado? in their eyes it is still illegal. but if they just storm in and attempt to over run it, isnt that illegal as well? constitutionally speaking.

    November 7, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  10. Name

    It will be smoked or ingested anyways. the people who want it are all that matter, if you don't want to use pot, mind your own business and don't use it. there its legal

    November 7, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  11. Vendetta

    IIt is about time for this kind of intelligent change of drug policy in this country. Narcotics are going to be used legal or not.

    Although the federal law still prohibits the use of marijuana, that fact that we are finally moving towards an education of these drugs.

    Our children are exposed to sex education with the concept that "We do not want you to do this -now-, but if you do this is what you need to know to be safe.

    But Drug education in this country is "Don't do it" with no information of "but if you do this is what you need to know to be safe"

    They are going to do it anyways so we need to educate what are safe ways of taking them "If they do them"

    So many lives can be saved if we teach them to say no and how to be safe if otherwise than to just leave them to "their friends" opionin on how to use them and what they can take together resulting in death.

    I am very proud of Colorado and Washington states, I only wish this could have been the result in my own state of North Carolina.

    Thank you

    November 7, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  12. Nick

    That's great news for the residents of Colorado and Washington! I can't wait to see what the rest of the country does when they see how their economy grows and the state debt is cleared.

    November 7, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  13. just sayin

    the feds can do anything they want to whoever they want to do it to. obamacare proved that. the individual has almost no rights left. but by all means go ahead dopers and light up. give it to your kids too since you don't think it is a problem.

    November 7, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  14. mark montesano

    People who are not fortunate enough to live in the newest best states and want to smoke pot are damn well going to smoke pot. other states need to wise up and give the people what they want. the people who want it to stay veroten, don't count, all they have to do is not use it and its out of the way for!! them. they all just need stop people from having there liberty and not give them themB there happiness that they have. pursued. for far to long

    November 7, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  15. NameStickygreenbud

    "VICTORY AT LAST" I love my state of Washington . 30 days from now It's legal to light up . Wow ...someone pinch me .
    Go Huskies!

    November 7, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  16. Shishmon Bailey

    More and more symptoms are responding and more and more stress responds to marijuana.

    November 7, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  17. JJ

    Way to go Colorado and Washington!!! Obama, we the people gave you a second chance, now TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE AND STOP THE RAIDS!

    November 7, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  18. Dan Rather

    Makes no sense if you can still get fired for a positive drug test. Legalization can be countered by drug testing and firing workers. Please correct me if i'm wrong.

    November 7, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  19. Matt

    This is a true step in the right direction. Thank you voters, and lawmakers, in Colorado and Washington, for being brave enough to take a stand for civil liberties. Challenge yourselves to be responsible and careful in the way you embrace your new laws and understand that the eye of the nation is now upon you. The stage is set, use it to be a sterling example for other states. In other words, DON'T RUIN IT FOR THE REST OF US!!!

    November 7, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  20. Jeff

    While I think this is the right direction for legalization, one only has to look at what happened in California to see how the Fed will react.

    November 7, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  21. concernedone

    In so doing this legalization act, what happens to the children exposed to marijuana,? second hand smoke as just the starters. How much more are we going to dumb down Americans, I am sure you all were happy about the regulation of cigs { second hand included ) and now we are promoting drugs that in the home will intoxicate our youth.
    alcohol is one thing it doesn't hold to the same problems that smoking marijuana will.

    November 7, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  22. Aficion

    Just a different perspective. I live in Vancouver. I really don't think there's anything wrong with pot. But... I'm not sure about legalization. Estimates are that pot is the #1 industry in BC. The economy has been crap here, and pot revenue has been the only thing to keep it afloat. But there are TONS of people who grow for profit. If it becomes legalized, those people won't be making money anymore. The big corporations are going to take over production, less people will make money off of it, and the economy here could grow stagnant again. Most of the people who are profiting here are people who would have jobs in gas stations or be on welfare, so that money would be going to CEOs and management if it's legal. I mean, you can already walk around smoking a joint in public (here), why bother legalizing if it means that you're putting a pile of people out of jobs? I realize it's probably not the same situation in most other places, but I thought I'd just throw this in for discussion.

    November 7, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  23. malcolmkyle

    Prohibition has finally run its course: Our prisons are full, our economy is in ruins, the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans have been destroyed or severely disrupted. What was once a shining beacon of liberty and prosperity has become a toxic, repressive, smoldering heap of hypocrisy and a gross affront to fundamental human decency.

    Former and present Prohibitionists shall not be allowed to remain untainted and untouched by the unconscionable acts that they have viciously committed on their fellow citizens. They have provided us with neither safe communities nor safe streets. We will provide them with neither a safe haven to enjoy their ill-gotten gains nor the liberty to repeat such a similar atrocity.

    November 7, 2012 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  24. blah

    for colorado, what if you already have a red card and are under the age 21, are the cards still good or no?

    November 7, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  25. Larry

    So are they going to be setting up stores similar to liquor stores? And will out of state people be able to buy weed at those stores, or will you have to be a citizen of Washington or Colorado?

    November 7, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
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