Voters in Washington DC and Oregon voted yesterday to legalise marijuana for recreational use, approving measures on the ballot at the US midterm elections.
As the polls closed, a similar vote in Alaska also appeared to be leaning towards legalisation, with early results showing more than 50 per cent of voters in favour of a measure to regulate and tax the drug on the Last Frontier.
Guam, the unincorporated US territory in the Pacific, voted in favour of legalising marijuana for medical use. In Florida, however, a constitutional amendment to legalise medical marijuana was defeated after receiving 58 per cent of the vote, to 42 per cent against. Constitutional amendments in Florida must win at least 60 per cent approval to pass.
Washington DC and 23 other states already allow medical marijuana, while Washington State and Colorado both voted to legalise recreational marijuana in 2012. The US capital, Oregon and, potentially, Alaska, will now join them in permitting adults to grow, purchase, possess and consume cannabis for purely recreational purposes.
The DC measure passed with 69 per cent of the vote, but may nonetheless prove controversial in the capital, where US Congressional lawmakers have the power to overrule local legislation. Initiative 71 allows the city’s residents to grow up to six marijuana plants and possess as much as two ounces of the drug. But with Republicans winning control of both the House and Senate at yesterday’s election – and some in the party ranks promising to push back on legalisation – the bill may face a fight to survive.
In pictures: Midterms 2014
In pictures: Midterms 2014
1/14 Red Oak, Iowa
Voters get an 'I VOTED TODAY' sticker after casting their ballots in Red Oak, Iowa
2/14 Washington, DC
A pollling station in Washington, DC. Most signs point toward President Barack Obama's party suffering crippling election setbacks.
Local resident Marybeth Davenport casts her ballot at a polling place at the Jamestown Town Hall
4/14 Red Oak, Iowa
Voters fill in their ballots at the Red Oak Fire Department in Red Oak, Iowa
5/14 Michelle Nunn
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn hugs phone bank volunteers on the eve of the mid-term election at her campaign headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Nunn is in a tight race against Republican opponent David Perdue.
6/14 Get Out the Vote Rally
Democrats hold a "Get Out the Vote Rally" for US Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who is up for reelection, and other Democratic candidates, at Old Town Alexandria Market Square in Alexandria, Virginia, on the night before midterm elections.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
7/14 Kids Vote
A father helps his son vote in a special "Kids Vote" while Kentucky voters cast their votes at Northside Elementary School in Midway, Kentucky. The "Kids Vote" is designed to encourage children to exercise their right to vote when they reach legal voting age.
8/14 Searsmont, Maine
A handmade sign stuck in a snowbank on a rural road urges citizens to vote in Searsmont, Maine
9/14 Madbury, New Hampshire
Voters cast their ballots at Madbury Town Hall in Madbury, New Hampshire. There is a tight race for a U.S Senate seat between incumbent U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown.
10/14 Albany, New York
Voters fill out their ballots in a gym on election day in Albany, New York
11/14 Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in North Carolina's Second District, jokes with members of the media as he waits in line to vote
12/14 Louisville, Kentucky
Voters cast their ballots in the midterm elections at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
13/14 Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell holds his ballot after placing his vote at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
14/14 Alexandria, Virginia
A dog waits for its owner to vote at the polling station in the Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy in Alexandria, Virginia
Oregon’s Measure 91 mimics the Washington state system, by handing regulatory control of cannabis to the state’s Liquor Control Commission, and allowing Oregonians to grow as many as four plants at home. Alaska’s Measure 2 would similarly introduce a regulatory system for a recreational marijuana industry, and make it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis.Reuse content