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Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada Approve Recreational

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By PAUL ELIAS

The Associated Press

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The marijuana legalization movement scored its biggest victory yet Tuesday as voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational pot, making the drug fully legal in the nation’s most populous state and giving it a toehold in the densely populated Northeast.

 

Voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical marijuana measures.

 

A preliminary exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research showed the proposal passed handily in California.

 

California’s vote makes the use and sale of recreational cannabis legal along the entire West Coast and gives legalization advocates powerful momentum. Massachusetts is the first state east of the Mississippi to allow recreational use.

 

The victories could spark similar efforts in other states and put pressure on federal authorities to ease longstanding rules that classify marijuana as a dangerously addictive drug with no medical benefits.

 

“I’m thrilled,” said Northern California marijuana grower Nikki Lastreto. “I’m so excited that California can now move forward.”

 

California was the first state to approve medical marijuana two decades ago. It was among five states weighing whether to permit pot for adults for recreational purposes. The other states were Arizona, which defeated the idea, and Maine, where the question remained undecided early Wednesday.

 

Montana voted on whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.

 

In general, the proposals for recreational pot would treat cannabis similar to alcohol. Consumption would be limited to people 21 or older and forbidden in most public spaces. Pot would be highly regulated and heavily taxed, and some states would let people grow their own.

 

State-by-state polls showed most of the measures with a good chance of prevailing. But staunch opponents that included law enforcement groups and anti-drug crusaders urged the public to reject any changes. They complained that legalization would endanger children and open the door to creation of another huge industry that, like big tobacco, would be devoted to selling Americans an unhealthy drug.

 

“We are, of course, disappointed,” said Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association. Corney said his organization plans to work with lawmakers to develop a driving-under-the-influence policy.

 

The California proposal sowed deep division among marijuana advocates and farmers. In Northern California’s famous Emerald Triangle, a region known for cultivating pot for decades, many small growers have longed for legitimacy but also fear being forced out of business by large corporate farms.

 

“I’m not necessarily stoked nor surprised,” said Humboldt County grower Graham Shaw, reflecting the ambivalence of the region to the measure. “I am very happy that the war on cannabis in California is finally over.”

 

If “yes” votes prevail across the country, about 75 million people accounting for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population would live in states where recreational pot is legal. The jurisdictions where that’s already the case — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia — have about 18 million residents, or 5.6 percent of the population. Twenty-five states allow medical marijuana.

 

According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization.

 

Proposition 64 would allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants at home. Varying tax rates would be levied on sales, with the money deposited into the state’s marijuana tax fund.

 

The exit poll of 2,282 California voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 30 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 744 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups

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it should get rescheduled soon as well, that will open up a lot for long overdue research. one of the only things that makes me happy that trump will be president, we can all get high as 'uck as he allows huge environmental destruction and his piss poor foreign policy alienates every ally we have and starts ww3.

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The encouraging thing about the Malheur Refuge verdict and Trump's victory: facts and rule of law don't matter--just do whatever the fuck you want!

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Its crazy how fast things are going on the other side of the world.

I hope the policy in America can be an exemple for us here in Europe.

 

The medical aspect is tolerated in several countries now but it's still a kind of taboe I guess,

except for Spain and The Netherlands..

 

Note: Last year there was a new law wich banned all growshops in Holland.

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Woooooooo!!!!

Hooooooooo!!

Yeah bros, I live in Mass and shit just got real. I'm so happy to have that nagging sliver of fear be eliminated, I am hyped to have access to cuts or beans locally, also. These fuckers ( politicians) will drag their asses , but we will get there!

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I guess access to new stuff is cool. But I'm getting ready for newbs everywhere to tell me how it is. A new wave of money is coming and it will be annoying for awhile. I'm also a care taker so we'll see what happen's to my bottom line.

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This is so maga next reschedule and end the DEA save some money. The states are leading the way. not waiting on corrupt DC. Several red states went MEDICAL too! So fucking glad our country has a bright future! Im getting high in celebration, I don't care if I ever come down. Lets drain the fucking swamp of these corrupt lying politicians and END THE DRUG WAR! :D It isn't about one side or the other or hate, its about maga on all levels. :icecool

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[Here is the Seattle Times "pot reporter" opinion of the future under Trump]:

 

By Bob Young

Seattle Times staff reporter

There’s no question Barack Obama has been the best president for the legalization of pot. By far.

 

But that’s a very low bar, say advocates such as Tom Angell, founder of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority.

 

Obama disappointed many activists by not reining in Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and federal attorneys who prosecuted medical-marijuana dispensaries. He also never endorsed legalization and didn’t do a lot to help pot merchants facing challenges with pesticide, tax and banking regulations because of federal prohibition.

 

Still, Obama has been politically artful in allowing legalization to proceed in pioneering states such as Washington and Colorado, said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon. He’s charted a course for other states to follow, without inciting a political backlash.

 

And with voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada — and possibly Maine, pending final results — approving legal weed Tuesday, about 25 percent of the nation’s population will live in states with legal pot.

 

Federal prohibition appears impractical, if not impossible, Blumenauer said. Obama suggested as much in a recent interview.

 

President-elect Donald Trump has said, “I really believe you should leave it to the states. I think it should be a state issue.”

 

Obama’s great accomplishment, some say, was getting out of the way after voters in Colorado and Washington approved state-regulated pot production and sale in 2012.

 

“What he did was respect the democratic process,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a sponsor of Washington’s groundbreaking Initiative 502.

 

Obama didn’t try to quash state laws with federal pre-emption. And he didn’t prosecute legal pioneers.

 

Even then, Washington officials were not sure if they could implement and oversee a legal pot industry without federal opposition. “It’s easy for us to forget that we didn’t know what the feds would do,” Holmes said.

 

That uncertainty evaporated with the so-called Cole Memo in August 2013. Authored by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole, the memo told Washington and Colorado they could carry out the voters’ will as long as they adhered to eight Department of Justice priorities, such as preventing sales to minors and preventing legal pot revenue from going to criminals.

 

“That memo in 2013 was doing two things. Superficially it was saying, ‘we’re watching you.’ But what it was really doing was providing a road map,” said Alison Holcomb, chief author of I-502. “It says, ‘by the way, states, here’s how you legalize.’ That’s huge, telling states what legalization looks like.”

 

The Obama administration followed up in 2014 with official guidance for how the banking industry could provide services to legal pot merchants without running afoul of Treasury Department rules for reporting money laundering.

 

“They’ve been elegantly cautious,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, which announced last week that it has raised $122 million from investors for legal pot businesses.

 

“We never imagined the velocity with which this industry and the political landscape would change,” said Kennedy, whose firm markets the Marley Natural brand of cannabis products in California, Oregon and soon in Washington. Privateer also owns Leafly, a marijuana information and news service.

 

The vote in California, home to the world’s sixth-largest economy, is potentially a game-changer, Kennedy said. “When visitors to California see a fully implemented regulatory framework I think that will begin to change cultural perceptions,” he said.

 

But disappointments linger.

 

Blumenauer has been frustrated that the administration was not more aggressive in making sure federal agencies followed his example.

 

He called it “mind numbing” that a Native American teenager faced federal charges and a year in jail for possessing a gram of pot earlier this year before prosecutors backed down amid a storm of protest.

 

“We have people in the bureaucracy, particularly in the DEA, who are just in the Stone Age,” Blumenauer said.

 

Angell called it a big disappointment that Obama did not remove pot from the federal controlled-substances list where it resides alongside heroin as the most dangerous of drugs.

 

And, there’s the most obvious shortcoming of Obama’s strategy — the Cole memo is just a memo, not a change in federal law. It could disappear under Trump, although he’s said several times that he favors medical marijuana and that legalization should be left to states to decide.

 

There was political risk to Obama’s going further, Blumenauer said. “If he were to be more forthcoming he would’ve invoked more discord with the Republican-controlled Congress. It would’ve made it intensely partisan, would’ve made it harder,” he said.

 

And, Obama went further than any previous president in admitting his own youthful marijuana use and by saying pot was not as dangerous as alcohol.

 

In an interview last week with HBO’s Bill Maher, Obama reiterated his position that “legalization is not a panacea.” But he also went on to say that if California and other states legalized, “it’s going to call the question.”

 

With roughly one-quarter of the country under one set of laws and the rest under different rules, “that is not going to be tenable,” Obama said.

 

Angell said his organization plans to hold Trump to his pledges, particularly in light of polls showing a majority of Americans (though not Republicans) support legalization.

 

“Reversing course and going against the tide of history would present huge political problems that the new administration does not need,” he said.

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Trump will let states decide. Calm down. And congrats to all that voted yes everywhere. I am in California and finally have a reason to like living here.

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