While pundits pore over exit polls in key races that could swing control of the Senate on Tuesday, marijuana advocates will be focused on several states with pot initiatives on the ballot.
From Alaska to Maine, here’s a guide for what’s at stake for marijuana in the midterm elections.
• Oregon and Alaska
What’s being considered: In Oregon and Alaska, voters are considering statewide ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. The initiatives — Measure 91 in Oregon and Measure 2 in Alaska — would remove all legal penalties for possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older and establish a regulatory framework for licensed businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana to adults, similar to the laws enacted in Colorado and Washington state earlier this year. Medical marijuana is already legal in both Alaska and Oregon, though both states have seen previous efforts to legalize recreational pot fail.
What’s at stake: If the measures pass, Alaska and Oregon would be the third and fourth states to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. And pot advocates in both states have been working to get young voters likely to support legalization to the polls. “It’s a very polarized race,” Ivan Moore, an Anchorage pollster, told The Associated Press. “Young people like it and old people don’t. And the trouble for the ‘yes’ side is that old people vote and young people don’t.” To counter that paradigm, the “yes” side is spending lots of money. In Alaska, supporters of Measure 2 have raised more than $890,000. In Oregon, two groups backing Measure 91 have raised nearly $4 million.
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