Election Night 2013: Marijuana Wins Big
Election Night 2013 featured four proposals concerning municipal legalization of marijuana and one statewide recreational tax initiative. In every case, the marijuana measures won handily.
In Colorado, voters passed Proposition AA by a 65% to 35% margin. This vote enacted the 15% excise tax on recreational marijuana sales that voters legalized with Amendment 64 last election, as well as a 10% sales tax not originally included in the amendment. Opponents claimed AA was a “bait and switch” by adding a new sales tax and by taxing marijuana at rates far greater than alcohol.
In Maine, voters in the largest city, Portland, approved a municipal measure that legalized 2.5 ounces of marijuana for adults over 21 years of age. This vote was approved by a two-to-one margin (67%) and also legalizes paraphernalia and sharing of marijuana between adults.
In Michigan, the cities of Ferndale, Lansing, and Jackson all voted on proposals to decriminalize the possession and sharing of less than one ounce of marijuana for adults. The votes approving decrim in those cities were margins of 69%, 62%, and 61% support, respectively.
In Maine and Michigan, non-medical marijuana possession still remains illegal, so these city ordinances would only apply to cases involving city police officers, who may choose to detain and arrest adult pot smokers under state law. Even so, municipal marijuana reforms that get better than 60% support are harbingers of future marijuana reforms at the state level. Activists have already targeted Maine for 2016 legalization and these Michigan votes may accelerate the timetable for that state.