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Two marijuana-legalization measures are poised to pass

November 06, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • A caregiver picks out a marijuana bud for a patient at a dispensary in Denver.
A caregiver picks out a marijuana bud for a patient at a dispensary in Denver. (Ed Andrieski / Associated…)

Ballot measures to legalize casual marijuana use were leading in Washington state and Colorado on Tuesday night, but a similar measure lost in Oregon.

Washington's Initiative Measure No. 202 held a 55%-45% lead, according to the Washington secretary of state. That did not include mail-in ballots, which need not be postmarked until election day.

In Colorado, the secretary of state was still tallying votes, but the Denver Post projected that Amendment 64 would be successful.

Both measures call for marijuana to be legalized and regulated similar to alcohol.

Marijuana advocates claimed double victories. 

“The significance of these events cannot be understated,” Erik Altieri, a spokesman for the marijuana advocacy group NORML, said in a statement. “Tonight, for the first time in history, two states have legalized and regulated the adult use and sale of cannabis. We now must focus on the important work of implementation and begin to encourage other states to adopt these rational reforms.”

Amendment 64 in Colorado allows adults older than 21 to have and smoke small amounts of pot and allows for the licensing of cultivation and product-manufacturing facilities. It also permits the government to tax marijuana.

Colorado legislative analysts estimated the measure would raise between $4 million and $22 million in sales taxes and licensing fees, but opponents challenged those figures. The first $40 million raised by marijuana sales taxes every year is required  to go toward school construction.

Possession of up to two ounces of medical marijuana was already legal under Colorado law.

Oregon’s Measure No. 80 lost, 56% to 44%.

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