While most eyes are focused on the big prizes of legalization in Washington DC, Oregon and Alaska, and medical marijuana in Guam (PASSED 56.4 percent) and Florida, and even defelonization in California, there are 77 other county and city votes on marijuana issues this election.
Voters in the cities of South Portland and Lewiston will be voting to legalize marijuana possession within city limits. These cities would legalize 2.5 ounces of herb, joining the state’s largest city, Portland, which did the same in 2013. Cultivation and sales are not covered by these votes and state law still maintains the criminality of marijuana, but it is likely there will be a statewide initiative for legalization in 2016.
Voters in eight districts (Barnstable 4th; Berkshire 4th; Essex 1st; Franklin 2nd; Middlesex 14th, 15th, and 24th; and Norfolk 8th) will be voting on a non-binding public policy question that directs their state representative to support the legalization of marijuana. Voters in six house districts (Essex 4th, 7th, and 8th; Hampshire 2nd; and Middlesex 3rd and 6th) will be voting on a public opinion poll on whether prohibition of marijuana should be replaced with a tax-and-regulate system of legalization.
Voters in 11 Michigan cities (Berkley, Clare, Frankfort, Harrison, Huntington Woods, Lapeer, Mt. Pleasant, Onaway, Pleasant Ridge, Port Huron and Saginaw) will be voting to amend their city charters to allow for the decriminalization of personal possession, use, and transfer of marijuana. Amounts range from one ounce to 2.5 ounces. Michigan activists have already passed sixteen similar measures with zero defeats.
With marijuana legalization comes local votes to tweak the law. Thirteen cities and counties (Adams County, Aurora, Basalt, Cañon City, Hot Sulphur Springs, Lafayette, Lyons, Northglenn, Palisade, Paonia, Ramah, Rifle and Silverton) will be deciding marijuana tax measures. Aurora voters will have the competing Adams County measure to sort through, while Hot Sulphur Springs and Silverton have two competing initiatives on the ballot. Five cities (Cañon City, Palisade, Palmer Lake, Paonia, and Ramah) will vote to allow pot shops while five others (Hot Sulphur Springs, Lakewood, Manitou Springs, Palmer Lake, and Red Cliff) are voting to ban or put a moratorium on pot shops. Palmer Lake has both an “allow” and a “ban” vote while Hot Sulphur Springs is also voting whether to support a ban on grow sites, infused product manufacturers, and testing facilities.
Two counties in the Land of Enchantment (Bernallilo and Sante Fe) are voting today on marijuana decriminalization advisory questions. Both would allow for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in the counties and their largest cities, Albuquerque and Sante Fe.
Six cities and counties in California will be voting on medical marijuana taxation (Blythe, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, Shasta Lake), with Desert Hot Springs voting on two competing measures. Four cities (Encinitas, La Mesa, Santa Ana, and Weed) are voting to either allow dispensaries or overturn a ban. Four counties (Butte County, Lake County, Nevada County, and Shasta County) are voting to allow medical marijuana grows or repeal restrictions, with Lake County voting on two competing measures). Santa Ana will be voting to limit dispensaries, Butte County will vote on medical grow restrictions, and Weed will vote to prohibit medical grows.
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