In Washington and Colorado, proponents of recreational use of Marijuana are taking legalization efforts seriously as seen by the amount of money raised for campaigns. Around the country in several states, the matter is being put to the ballot. Washington got the matter qualified in January and supporters of the campaign have already raised $2 million. Similarly, people supporting marijuana legalization in Colorado have raised $1 million already, though they qualified later than Washington for putting the measure to ballot. However, in Oregon, a similar voter referendum which qualified in July, received less than $1000 in contributions. In November, all three state measures are going to face the ballot.
Backers of recreational use of marijuana are already buying television ads in Washington and Colorado and trying to place their side of the argument before the public, especially to those who have never smoked pot. However, the federal government holds marijuana is a dangerous narcotic and alcohol is okay. So, the supporters have an uphill battle trying to convince non-smokers of the benefits of legalizing and taxing marijuana.
The referendums in these states are also important against the context of frequent federal raids in states where marijuana has already been legalized for medical use. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “If one of these initiatives wins, it will really be a breakthrough … and in the end, just as there has been a federal-state conflict involving medical marijuana, we anticipate there will be similar conflicts when states begin to legally regulate marijuana like alcohol … But the only way we think change can happen is through this process.”
A July poll by Survey USA in Washington said 55 percent of registered voters who took the survey backed marijuana legalization. A June poll of Colorado voters by Rasmussen Reports says there’s 61 percent support in favor of legalizing pot.
Billionaire Peter Lewis, the Ohio-based chairman of Progressive Insurance has provided a contribution of $875,000 to the Washington campaign to legalize marijuana, while Drug Policy Alliance has provided $600,000.
The ballot measures in all three states seek to legalize recreational use of marijuana for persons above the age of 21.