by Micha on 12/11/2014 | Cannabis News

Legal cannabis now also in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C.

As part of the Congress elections in the USA, three states plus the District of Columbia (i.e. the federal capital of Washington and its suburbs), all voted the same way on cannabis. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. decided to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes, while in Florida, the vote regarding incorporating medicinal cannabis in the Constitution only narrowly failed with 57 percent of the votes. Sensi Seeds reported on the results in a breaking newsflash. While all four referendums related to the legal status of cannabis, if you consider the details, they are all vastly different.


US states number four, five and six have re-legalised

As part of the Congress elections in the USA, three states plus the District of Columbia (i.e. the federal capital of Washington and its suburbs), all voted the same way on cannabis. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. decided to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes, while in Florida, the vote regarding incorporating medicinal cannabis in the Constitution only narrowly failed with 57 percent of the votes. Sensi Seeds reported on the results in a breaking newsflash. While all four referendums related to the legal status of cannabis, if you consider the details, they are all vastly different.

Florida

Florida Cannabis Legalization Sensi Seeds BlogIn Florida, Amendment 2 was rejected with 57 percent of the votes.

Once the yes vote had reached 80 percent in the polls, it became clear in the last few weeks that the vote would be very close due to a massive media campaign by the opponents. Given that Amendment 2 was to be incorporated in the country’s Constitution, the referendum required a 60 percent majority in favour.

Oregon

Oregon Cannabis Legalization Sensi Seeds BlogIn Oregon, Measure 91 was clearly passed with 55 percent of the votes.

Oregon had already voted on the status of cannabis once before, in 2012. At the time, the initiative only narrowly failed with just under 47 percent of the votes. In 2014, Measure 91 learned from its earlier errors, and its northern neighbour, Washington State, has now followed suit. With Jeff Merkley, who simultaneously won the fight for the post of senator for the White House, Oregon now has its first senator who is openly advocating the relegalisation of cannabis. The situation in Oregon is similar to that in Colorado prior to legalisation, but with a dispensing system for medicinal cannabis already in operation, Oregon has the best foundation for a completely legal market. ‘Medical dispensaries’ may soon increase their clientèle, just like those in Colorado in 2013, if they obtain a licence for recreational sales, which allows shops to sell no more than one ounce of weed to adults aged 21 years and over. Measure 91 also permits the private growing of no more than six plants for personal consumption.

Alaska

Alaska Cannabis Legalization Sensi Seeds BlogIn Alaska, shortly before all the votes are counted, Ballot Measure 2 was leading with an unreachable 55 percent.

Alaska has a long history of liberal cannabis policy, because possession of up to one ounce of weed was already decriminalised in 1975. Medicinal cannabis has already been legal for 16 years, even if, due to its political situation, Alaska doesn’t have any medical dispensaries like they do in many other states. Medicinal hemp flowers may be grown legally, offering patients two options. They can either grow their weed themselves or leave the growing to a person known as a “caregiver”, who will grow a legal quantity of the plants on behalf of patients, depending on their diagnosis and consequent need. Because there aren’t any medical dispensaries, cannabis patients and caregivers in Alaska have hardly had any problems with the federal authorities for a long time now, in spite of the medical weed programme. The DEA is nobly holding back, because weed isn’t being sold openly anywhere, which is good for those who are still able to grow it or at least know someone who would be able to take over. Until Ballot Measure 2 is passed, people who are unable to do either will be forced to take illegal measures.

The implementation of Ballot Measure 2 is also based on the model in Colorado, but the measure deals with taxation a little differently. From each ounce of weed sold, 50 US dollars are paid to the state. Adults aged over 21 are allowed to grow up to six plants and buy up to an ounce of weed in store. Like in Washington State, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will regulate the implementation of relegalisation until a Cannabis Control Board is formed.

Washington D.C.

Washington DC Cannabis Legalization Sensi Seeds BlogIn Washington D.C., Initiative 71 was passed with an overwhelming majority of 68 percent.

The Congress must reach a consensus there within 60 days, however, which is due to the District of Columbia’s exceptional position in the US Constitution. The area it covers includes both the US capital and a number of suburbs. Voters have only been able to vote at a local level at all since 1973, but all laws enacted by the city council meeting require the approval of the Congress, which must be granted within two months. Initiative 71 does in fact provide a kind of private legalisation, but it continues to be illegal to trade cannabis. Even in the federal capital before the vote, possession of an ounce of weed was decriminalised and cannabis as a drug, including “medical dispensaries”, was legal. However, after the conservatives’ victory at the Congress elections, the Congress’ approval to legalise weed, which also violates the federal laws, was more than questionable. Congress’ passing of laws relating to Washington D.C. is usually merely a formality, especially when it relates to referendums. When it comes to cannabis, and even “only” medicinal cannabis, the Congress has already, contrary to the will of the people, taken 12 years to pass a law. Once the residents of the US capital had decided back in 1998 that cannabis should be a medicinal drug, it took a whole 12 years for the Congress to pass the corresponding law, after losing the Republican majority.

“Initiative 71” regulates the legalisation of the private growing of six plants, as well as the possession of one ounce of cannabis for adults. The trading and dispensing of cannabis continues to be illegal. Exceptions to this rule are medical dispensaries that have already been licensed, at which patients may buy medicinal hemp flowers at their doctor’s recommendation. However, observers expect that the city could set up a legal dispensing system when the initiative is passed, as also campaigned for by the elected mayoress, Muriel E. Bowser, in the campaign to set up such a system.

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