Marijuana: How pot measures in Washington and Oregon compare to Amendment 64
Colorado isn't the only state with pot in the voting booths this year. The Pacific Northwest has also become a cannabis-friendly haven over the last few decades, and ballot measures in both Washington and Oregon contain legalization proposals.
If passed, Washington's Initiative 502 would make it legal for adults 21 and over to possess and use up to one ounce of buds, sixteen ounces of solid marijuana edibles and 72 ounces of liquids, such as tinctures and, presumably, hash oil. As with Colorado's Amendment 64, the proposal would charge an existing state office with managing the new, legal pot industry. Tax revenue generated would go toward public health care and substance-abuse clinics. The measure is currently polling well, with some pollsters predicting it will get 54 percent of the vote.
By late October, New Approach Washington had raised nearly $5.7 million -- considerably more money than had Amendment 64's proponents. The largest portion of that sum (more than $2 million) came from Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, who was arrested over a decade ago for pot possession on a trip to New Zealand and has since become a major supporter of groups like the Marijuana Policy Project. The national Drug Policy Alliance donated another $1.6 million, and well-known travel-book author Rick Steves shipped in a quarter-million.
The two officially registered anti-502 campaigns, on the other hand, had only raised about $16,200 by the end of October, according to campaign finance reports. Included in that figure is more than $9,000 from Washington medical marijuana center owners and attorneys who say they oppose the proposal because of what it doesn't do. If passed, for example, it would not permit personal gardens. Medical patients could still grow their own, but recreational users would have to purchase their herb from a store.
But for many pot proponents, like Sensible Washington, the biggest problem with 502 is that it would lock the state's driving-under-the influence-of-marijuana limits at .5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. That's the same level Colorado lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to pass twice in the last two years. Opposition both times (and in Washington) comes primarily from medical marijuana patients, who point out that they develop tolerances and have higher residual levels build up in their systems over time.
Westword proved that to be the case two years ago by sending me in for blood work more than twelve hours and a night's sleep after I had last smoked. Despite being deemed sober by a doctor, I tested at nearly three times the proposed limit. Colorado activists like The Colorado Alliance for Regulation and Education have the same concerns about Amendment 64, which says that driving under the influence of marijuana "shall remain illegal" if passed.
Continue to read more about marijuana proposals in Washington and Oregon.