Marijuana wins in Oregon, Alaska and D.C., loses in Florida

Marijuana plants
Marijuana plants Tri-City Herald/MCT

Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to fully legalize marijuana on Tuesday, while Floridians rejected a proposal that would have allowed pot to be used for medical reasons.

In Washington, D.C., voters approved a more limited plan, removing all penalties for possession and home cultivation of small amounts of pot by adults 21 and older.

Oregon and Alaska will now join Washington and Colorado in taxing and regulating pot much like alcohol.

While a majority of voters backed the Florida plan, it fell short of the 60 percent threshold required for passage.

“The results are in, and marijuana prohibition is on its way out,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group.

He said the results were “particularly encouraging” because voter turnout in midterm elections is usually smaller than in presidential elections, with more older and conservative voters participating.

More legalization votes are expected in 2016 in a series of states, including California.

Kevin Sabet, president of the anti-legalization group SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), said opponents would increase their efforts, noting they were severely outspent this year.

“This was not the complete slam-dunk the legalization groups expected. … We will redouble our efforts to educate the public about the harms of legalization,” he said.