MARIJUANA ON THE BALLOT IN FLORIDA, ALASKA, OREGON AND D.C.
By Josh Barro
Questions about legalizing recreational marijuana will appear on ballots in Alaska, the District of Columbia and Oregon. But it’s not clear all these states will follow the lead of Colorado and Washington, which legalized marijuana by ballot initiative in 2012.
In Oregon, one recent poll by SurveyUSA showed supporters for marijuana legalization leading by 52 percent to 41 percent; another by Elway Research, for The Oregonian, found them behind by 46 to 44. The only recent public polls in Alaska were conducted by interested parties; unsurprisingly, pro-legalization forces found the question ahead, and opponents found it behind.
The proposal in the District of Columbia is highly likely to pass: An NBC4/Washington Post/Marist poll found support at 65-33 in September. However, Congress can overrule Washington voters’ choice to legalize, and Representative Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, has signaled his intention to push Congress to do so.
Florida will vote on medical marijuana. Because the state’s proposal is a constitutional amendment, it must get 60 percent of the vote to pass. There have been several polls this fall putting the measure on either side of that threshold.
Legalization in Colorado has produced mixed results since January. Crime in the state has continued to fall. But there have been some concerns regarding marijuana edibles, which the state public health department recently recommended prohibiting. And government revenues have fallen short of expectations, in part because many users continue to rely on Colorado’s lightly taxed medical marijuana system.
There is less data from Washington state, where legal sales did not begin until July.
We’ll be watching the results and updating this article as they come in. Polls close at 7 p.m. in Florida; 8 p.m. in Washington; 11 p.m. in Oregon; and 1 a.m. Wednesday morning in Alaska (all times Eastern).