OREGON: After voters in Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, Alison Holcomb would tell pot activists it was too early to say that the rest of America was ready to accept the drug.
Holcomb, an American Civil Liberties Union official who managed Washington’s legalization campaign, recalled that nearly a dozen states – including Oregon – decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug in the 1970s.
“And then the ’80s came and the pendulum swung back hard,” she said, as President Ronald Reagan called marijuana “probably the most dangerous drug in America” and stepped up federal enforcement against all illegal drugs.
Holcomb now feels more confident that marijuana will be widely legal after watching Oregon and Alaska voters approve the possession and retail sales.
Legalization in two more states — in a non-presidential year when fewer younger people vote – marks an important milestone in the drive to sweep away criminal penalties against a drug routinely used by millions of Americans, Holcomb and other activists say. On top of that, in Washington, D.C., voters said adults should be able to grow and possess the drug.