The Huffington Post:
Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize
recreational marijuana in the prohibition era on Tuesday, dealing a
major blow to the war on drugs. Medical marijuana was also legalized in
Massachusetts, underlining long-running trends in public opinion toward more permissive attitudes on drugs.
"To put this into historical context, there is no historical
context," said Tom Angell, spokesperson for Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition. "It's the first time any state has ever voted to legalize
marijuana -- and two of them did it."
The votes marked a significant shift from decades of tough-on-crime policies that burned through $1 trillion in tax dollars over 40 years, led to the arrest of 850,000 Americans
for marijuana law violations in 2010 alone, and fueled the rise of
deadly drug cartels abroad. But even as pot reformers celebrated their
long-sought victories, the threat of a confrontation with the federal
Both ballot measures would legalize recreational marijuana use only
for adults, and cannabis would remain a controlled substance under
In Colorado, Amendment 64 won with 54 percent of the vote in favor to
46 percent opposed. The measure allows the cultivation and sale of
marijuana. In Washington, Initiative 502 carried the day with 56 percent
of the vote in support and 44 percent against with half of precincts
In California, a proposition that would reduce the severity of the state's harsh "three strikes" law appeared to be leading in early returns, which could signal a general move toward more rehabilitative stances on criminal justice.
The successful pro-pot campaigns prominently featured the voices of
law enforcement officials who testified firsthand about the corrosive
impact of the war on drugs. There was no reason to prohibit marijuana,
they suggested, when far more destructive drugs like alcohol were legal.
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