On Election Day, both Arizona and South Dakota decided not to join the ranks of states like Colorado by shooting down measures that would have made marijuana legal for medicinal purposes. In Oregon, voters banned dispensaries. And in closely watched California, voters said no to a law that would have legalized the possession of marijuana for purely recreational purposes (via MSNBC). There, concerns about the potential dangers of pot trumped the idea that it could be a good revenue generator for the state.
While California pot proponents may revisit the issue in 2012, Colorado could become the next big battleground. "California had its chance," Sam Kamin, a professor of law at the University of Denver, tells The Denver Post. "Colorado is the next obvious choice."
Local qualms over medical-marijuana dispensaries in more than two-dozen municipalities, like Broomfield County, where voters this week banned sales, indicate that pot won't necessarily be an easy sell in Colorado. Nonetheless, pot groups say they will seek to expand on the current amendment that makes medical marijuana legal by completely legalizing the drug for adults older than 21 and regulating it like alcohol.
"Colorado is ready," Mason Tvert tells The Associated Press. Tvert heads Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, which was behind the Denver ordinance from a few years ago that makes enforcement of pot crimes the lowest priority for Denver police.