WASHINGTON — This election day, residents in Colorado and Washington voted in favor of ballot measures that will make marijuana legal for adults aged 21 and over, removing most criminal and civil penalties and replacing the current policies with a system similar to that used to regulate alcohol. When the laws take effect, these states will be the only places in the country or world with legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana markets.
“It is now more obvious than ever that marijuana prohibition is a failed policy, and the voters in Colorado and Washington have sent a message to their elected leaders and the nation that they have had enough,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is costly, harmful, and dangerously misguided to continue arresting adults for using something that is safer than alcohol, particularly the seriously ill who could benefit from using marijuana. A majority of Americans are sick of this nightmare and support treating marijuana in a rational manner. Unfortunately, most lawmakers continue to ignore this fact and turn a blind eye to the harms caused by prohibition. The residents of Colorado and Washington have taken the matter into their own hands and done something about it today. They should be congratulated for taking the first step toward sensible laws. The end of marijuana prohibition is at hand.”
Massachusetts also passed a law that allows the seriously ill to access medical marijuana without fear of arrest. As of now, 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to protect medical marijuana patients, consisting of nearly a third of the national population.
A Rasmussen Report from May of this year showed that 56% of voters nationwide supported removing criminal penalties for adult marijuana use and instead taxing and regulating the substance in a manner similar to alcohol.