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November 2006
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Major marijuana initiatives

OK, call me a glass half-full kind of guy. I know a lot of people are really disappointed by the loss of all three major initiatives (legalization in Nevada and Colorado; medical marijuana in South Dakota), and I am disappointed, too. But it’s not the end of the world, and in fact, there’s quite a lot to be pleased with in the results of those initiatives.
Despite the full weight of the federal government using taxpayer money to oppose the initiatives; despite various local and state officials improperly (perhaps illegally) using their offices to campaign against and spread falsehoods; despite the fact that voters knew this would create a conflict with federal law; despite the decades of propaganda…

  • Combined, close to one million people voted in favor of these initiatives (in a midterm election in not highly populated states).
  • All three initiatives got respectable percentages in the 40’s (unlike drug warrior Earnest Istook, who only got 34% in the Oklahoma governor race).
  • The South Dakota medical marijuana initiative lost by only 16,000 votes.
  • As daksya notes, the demographics look to be on our side long-term.

Not bad. And in the process, there was even some national coverage and discussion of these issues. Seeds were sown.
Kudos to those who worked so hard on those initiatives. It’s got to be particularly hard for you right now, but be proud of what you did.
And kudos also to those independent candidates around the country tilting at windmills and getting more people to talk about drug policy reform.
Now we’ve got to do our job to continue to educate and motivate people, stripping away the layers and years of lies, softening up the masses for the next round.
Update: See this chart for information on all the marijuana-related initiatives, including a number of smaller ones that we won in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica (California), Missoula County (Montana), and four districts in Massachusetts.

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