The US capital joins two other states in passing initiatives approving marijuana use for personal consumption
Voters in Washington DC have joined Alaska and Oregon today in approving the legalisation of recreational marijuana. The three states join Colorado as one of the places in the US where you can light up a joint in peace. Hey, you might even be able to light up near the White House soon! (Assuming you don't get tackled by a Secret Service agent.)
64.62% of DC voters passed Initiative 71, which makes it legal for people 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to six plants. The sale of marijuana remains illegal, although District of Columbia authorities are considering a Colorado-style plan to tax and regulate sellers. There's a small chance that Congress might block the measure in Washington DC, but if there is no interference the bill could go into effect in early 2015.
The laws approved in Oregon and Alaska permit residents to smoke, grow and even set up a legal retail business for marijuana. The pro-legalisation campaign in Alaska captured 54% of the vote, while 52% of Alaskan voters approved the legalisation ballot.
The news was especially well received in Oregon, the first US state to decriminalise possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1973. It later legalised medical marijuana in 1998, while Oregon politician Jeff Merkley was also the first US senator to come out in favour of legalisation.
Earl Blumenauer, a US representative for Congress, said that the state's move to legalisation was a sign of things to come. "You are going to change national policy,” he told a victory party. "The marijuana legalisation train has left the station."
The Pacific island of Guam also became the first US territory to legalise medical marijuana. Unfortunately for Miami potheads, the Florida marijuana bill failed to gain the 60% of the vote necessary for it to pass.