The big winner in today's election: Weed

The big winner in today’s election: Weed

Nov 6, 2012

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard surrogates for both Obama and Romney on the campaign trail say, “This is the most important election in a generation.” Every election is important, but come on, this is kind of b.s. The last election was historic—we had the chance to elect our first non-white president, a financial disaster to stop and two wars to end. The stakes were pretty damn high. Now the wars are winding down, bin Laden is dead, and the economy has been set on a path toward solid growth over the next four years no matter who wins today. This election isn’t nearly as historic as the last one.

But one issue that really could make history today: Marijuana.

Three states have marijuana legalization bills on the ballot today and the most aggressive one, Colorado’s “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” bill, is polling on track to a victory, with the latest results showing a likely passage with 52 percent supporting to 44 percent opposed.

Colorado’s bill would go way farther than medical marijuana policies in places like California. Los Angeles residents end up with easy access to pot through marijuana pharmacies, but they’re still required to jump through hoops and get a license from the pharmacy’s in-house doctor, and carry the license with them to avoid getting arrested.

Colorado legalization would represent a new benchmark for marijuana acceptance, allowing it for sale to anyone over 21, just like alcohol. If the bill passes the state will adopt new rules for carrying weed in your car and forbid smoking and driving, just like every state does with alcohol. It’ll also regulate and tax marijuana sales, providing a brand new revenue stream for the state.

Three states have pro-gay marriage bills on the ballot today—if they pass they’ll be the first time same-sex marriage has been approved by popular vote. But six states already allow gay marriage, so while this would be great news it wouldn’t exactly be historic, never-done-before news.

Colorado’s bill, however, is likely to make history for pot. Now the question remains—will the Feds let it stand, or will they swoop in and start closing down stores selling pot like they’ve done in California? That’s a whole other battle for whichever administration takes charge after tomorrow.

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