Three Western US states vote on legalizing recreational pot

In Montana, voters will be asked whether to overturn a 2011 law that imposed tough restrictions on medical pot and led to the shutdown of dispensaries.

Voters in three western U.S. states went to the polls to
decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use in a move that
could spur a showdown with the federal government, with polls showing
legalization ahead in Washington and Colorado.

If voters approve the
measures, the states could become the first in the country to legalize
the recreational use of pot. Each of the initiatives would see marijuana
taxed and would regulate its sale in special stores to adults age 21
and older.

But the prospect of legalizing pot, which the federal
government considers an illicit and dangerous drug liable to be abused,
has raised concerns about how to keep stoned drivers off the roads and
joints out of the hands of teenagers.

Surveys show legalization
measures ahead in Washington state, where campaign finance records say
its sponsors have raised $6 million, and Colorado, where backers have
pulled in nearly $2 million. But legalization was trailing in Oregon,
where a grassroots campaign was struggling to sway voters.

A survey
of 932 likely voters in Washington state released on Saturday by Public
Policy Polling found 53 percent support legalization, with a margin of
error of 3.2 percent. reuters

Policy alliance
   
Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann, whose affiliate groups have funded current and past legalization initiatives, said he was more optimistic about legalization prospects now than he was before a California legalization referendum that voters rejected in 2010.
   
“In this case, the polling has stayed up there. It’s almost like we’re seeing a surge of support for this in the final week,” Nadelmann said.



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