The day is upon us — Tuesday, November 4, 2014 — Marijuana Election Night 2014. Millions of Americans are casting their votes for 83 marijuana ballots at the state, territory, district, county, and city level and we’re here to bring you the blow-by-blow.
Today opened with news from the US territory of Guam, where the sun rises on the United States. Their polls closed at 5am Eastern and their Proposal 14A, a medical marijuana law, had passed with 56.4 percent of the vote. Guamanians with certain qualifying conditions will be able to cultivate and possess a three-month supply of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
We’ve been following all the latest polls on the big ballot initiatives. Here are our predictions for tonight’s results, with the caveat that we’ll be more than happy to eat crow if the bad ones turn out good.
Washington DC Initiative 71 (Legalization without Markets):
The proposal in DC is probably the easiest slam-dunk of the night. Two polls from the Washington Post in January and September showed 63 percent support to 34 percent opposition, with 3 percent undecided. The initiative only allows for the personal possession and home cultivation of marijuana; DC’s laws make it impossible to place a tax and regulate measure on the ballot as an initiative. However, the DC City Council is already studying plans to legislate marijuana markets should 71 pass. Still, all DC laws are subject to the approval of the US Congress, and given the chances it becomes even more Republican, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the law is allowed to be implemented. Prediction:
PASS with 64 percent.
Florida Amendment 2 (Medical Marijuana):
What once looked to be a sure thing is now fighting to win. From November 2013 to July 2014, the average of eight polls showed Amendment 2 passing by a 73 percent to 21.5 percent margin, the rest undecided. Then came millions of dollars from Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelsen to buy negative campaign ads and a disastrous video from a campaign party. No on 2 attack ads from the leaked party video showed the primary backer of medical marijuana, millionaire personal injury attorney John Morgan, shouting drunken profanities to a raucous party of campaign staffers. Once more scrutiny was paid to the measure, opponents jumped on the language that allows doctors to recommend marijuana for any condition, like California, by airing ads claiming Amendment 2 was “a trick” and “full of loopholes.” Ten polls since August have averaged out at 57.3 percent support versus 33.9 percent opposition, with 8.5 percent undecided, which would be great if Florida didn’t require a 60 percent vote to amend its constitution.
Prediction: FAIL 58 percent (and we really want to be wrong!)
Oregon Measure 91 (Legalization with Markets):
Oregon tried legalizing in 2012 and flopped miserably with 46 percent of the vote. This time, however, the effort to legalize this time has better language, more endorsements, stronger supporters, professional campaigners and most important, a large stash of millions in cash to run campaign ads. The opposition banked less than $200,000, almost all of it from police associations, and stumbled horribly in the only televised debate when their medical expert claimed “five young infant children have died” from eating cannabis edibles in Colorado as the TV station ran his retraction in a graphic below him. Two of the three most recent polls put support at 52 percent versus opposition at 41 percent, while a poll showing 44 percent to 46 percent was over-reliant on older voters. Turn-out is the key, but with younger voters attracted by the marijuana issue and the GMO labeling measure on the ballot, we believe we’ll be live-streaming from America’s third legal marijuana state tonight. Prediction:
PASS 54 percent.
Alaska Question 2 (Legalization with Markets):
The last polls to close on our Marijuana Election Night coverage bring us a race that is probably too close to call. Question 2 polls are all over the place, but three show a decline in support since May, coming in at 48 percent, 44 percent, and 43 percent support; and 45 percent, 49 percent, and 53 percent opposed. One poll showing 57 percent to 39 percent was criticized for the phrasing of its question to include the term “constitutional rights” that opponents said skewed the answers. Will former Anchorage TV reporter Charlo Green’s shocking “fuck it, I quit” moment drive younger voters to the polls? Will Alaska’s already-legal-in-the-home four ounces and 25 plants make voters complacent? Did the opposition’s “Big Marijuana Big Mistake” messaging convince Alaskans that home grow and use was enough, there’s no need to legalize marijuana markets? It’s the least-sure prediction we can make tonight, but we think Oregon stands alone as the only state to legalize tonight.