Along with the presidential election (as well as House and Senate races), there were a number of different ballot measures, initiatives, constitutional amendments, etc. that voters had to make decisions on. Let’s round them up.
There were a number of different pot legalization measures all across the country. Arkansas voted down the measure to allow medical marijuana, and Oregon shot down full legalization. Others, however, went the other way.
Colorado and Washington voted to straight up legalize. In Colorado, the amendment intended to legalize for recreational use, allowing anyone over twenty-one to carry up to an ounce, and to regulate and tax the substance the way you would alcohol. Colorado’s Attorney General, despite personal reservations, said today that he would implement the law, but noted the wording about the tax was not implementable. That means Colorado’s state legislature will have to figure that out themselves.
In Colorado, you’ll also be able to grow your own plants. Of course, this doesn’t protect them from federal sanctioning. Earlier in President Obama’s first term, he sent the DEA and ATF to crack down on unlicensed marijuana distribution in California, which to many appeared to be an indication that the federal government may be prepared to do a clean sweep.
Washington’s initiative gives the state a year to establish key rules, but legal possession of marijuana will come into effect there in December 2012.
Montana voted to restrict a previous initiative that allowed medical marijuana. The state legislature tried an outright repeal, but their Governor vetoed it, citing that the voters made it clear they wanted access.
Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly in favor of medical marijuana, with over 60% support.
This social issue came up big with ballot initiatives. Maryland voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. Maine followed suit, approving the measure to allow it.
Minnesota had an amendment that would’ve banned gay marriage, but voters shot it down. While not officially approving it, preventing the ban makes it clear what voters want. We’ll see if the state legislature gets the hint and passes a marriage equality act.
Washington‘s same-sex measure is too close to call, but with over 50% reporting in, it’s holding to a 51.8% – 48.2% lead.
Montana voted in a referendum making it law for parents to be notified if their child is a minor and is having an abortion. California voted not to repeal the death penalty, and voted down an initiative for genetically-altered food to be labeled.
Alabama voted to block the individual mandate for health care. Beings that the individual mandate was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, the amendment will probably become irrelevant. Montana also voted against the individual mandate. These measures, however, were put into place long before the court ruling. More likely than not they’re lame ducks, and this is how it’s going to go:
- Lawyers file a federal appeal. The laws are struck down.
- Proponents take it to the US Supreme Court. The court will decline to take it on and the appeals ruling will stand.
With President Obama winning a second term and the Senate being held by Democrats, the Affordable Care Act isn’t going anywhere, so these ballot measures probably will cause a small dust-up and the federal law will take effect in those states.
And this is getting long, so I’m just going to leave the rest to you guys:
Question: What ballot measure, initiative, referendum, etc., concerns you the most? What are you happy to see?