The 43-year-old war on drugs had never seen such a barrage of opposition as it did in 2014, with successful marijuana legalization initiatives in several U.S. states, California’s historic approval of sentencing reform for low level drug offenders and world leaders calling for the legal regulation of all drugs — all of which cement the mainstream appeal of drug policy alternatives and offer unprecedented momentum going into 2015.
Las elecciones de 4 de noviembre en Estados Unidos pueden considerarse como un avance importante de los movimientos que buscan cambios en las políticas de drogas. Tales avances incluyen el aumento de las jurisdicciones donde la producción, el mercadeo y el consumo medicinal y no medicinal de marihuana se permiten de manera regulada, así como el debilitamiento en las políticas asociadas con la llamada “guerra contra las drogas”. Por otro lado, los resultados de estas elecciones complican la política internacional que Estados Unidos ha promovido por largo tiempo y debilitan el sistema internacional de control de drogas.
En junio de 1971, el entonces presidente Richard Nixon declaró una guerra frontal contra las drogas. Entre las primeras medidas que tomó fue la de clasificar a la marihuana en la categoría número uno de las listas de sustancias prohibidas en EE.UU., en compañía de la heroína. Y aunque 45 años después esta droga sigue estando en la misma categoría, ha sido enorme el cambio de la sociedad frente a la otrora yerba maldita. Una nueva prueba emergió durante las elecciones de mitad de término. Alaska y Oregon no solo le legalizaron el consumo con fines recreativos sino que dieron poder a sus líderes para reglamentar la producción y venta.
Three marijuana legalization initiatives were on the ballot this week, and all three won. That’s a better outcome than I was expecting. I was surprised when voters in Colorado and Washington approved legalization two years ago, and I was surprised again when voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., followed suit. Partly that’s because, after 25 years of advocating drug legalization (along with various other unpopular positions), I am accustomed to losing. But it’s also because I had looked at the polling data.
On November 4, several states radically altered their approaches to a drug once known for Reefer Madness. In Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, voters approved marijuana legalization measures. But in Florida, a medical marijuana amendment fell short of the 60 percent approval it needed to pass under state law. Here's a breakdown of each state's initiative, the latest results, and how the opposing campaigns pushed their messages to voters.
The decision by California voters in 1996 to legalize medical marijuana produced a wave of similar initiatives around the country. Less than two decades later, over half the states allow at least limited medical use. Now it looks as though recreational use of the drug may follow the same path. In 2012, Washington State and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. This November, voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will decide whether to do the same — effectively disregarding the misguided federal ban on a drug that is far less dangerous than alcohol.
Oregon voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use after state elections officials said the measure qualified for the November 2014 ballot. The measure would allow adults 21 and older to buy and possess marijuana and would give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the job of regulating and taxing the drug. Voters rejected a legalization measure two years ago, but little money was spent promoting it. By contrast, New Approach Oregon, the group behind the initiative, has received contributions from some of the same donors who backed successful marijuana initiatives in Washington and Colorado.
Weed is legal in at least some form in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Most allow it for medical use only. Colorado and Washington this year enacted laws that allow recreational use by adults. But more than two dozen states are considering new or expanded marijuana reform legislation, including complete legalization for adults, medical marijuana, hemp use and decriminalization. Which are the next five states likely to legalize marijuana?