Pot: The Elections

I’ll be monitoring the various marijuana issues on the state ballots more than any of the human races. Here’s my opinion on those:

Montana. Medical initiative. Montana has had a medical program for several years, but the legislature slashed it off at the knees. By the time it went to court, and a countering initiative was prepared, there was no time to campaign. Quick to pounce was a fervent opponent, a Mormon car dealer, with the only source of money. I expect this one will fail, with the market dropping back into the secretive black market.

Arkansas. Medical initiative. Arkansas? It came close 2 years ago, close enough I thought it could win this time. But then ego and greed took over and Arkansas ended up with two almost identical initiatives on the ballot. Last week one of them was declared invalid, and votes (already cast in some cases) would not count on that one. This confusion alone will mean it’s failure.

North Dakota. Medical initiative. I’ll bet this one was thought up in a some man-camp and filed before the oil thing crashed. I haven’t heard much about this, but I’d bet there isn’t the interest in it anymore. It will not pass.

Florida. Medical initiative. It should pass this time, creating the largest medical marijuana market in the world. As with all things Florida, expect years of fuck-ups and scandals. Colorado is the only state with a sizable medical market that sorta works, but it’s tiny compared to Florida.

Maine. Retail initiative. This is expected to pass.

Massachusetts. Retail initiative. The opponents have been well-funded and very vocal. They’ve also relied on obsolete Reefer Madness arguments that most people (on the west coast, certainly) recognize. It’ll pass.

So if both Maine and Massachusetts passes, they will become islands (better yet, oases) in the northeast. Given that the legal states already experienced customers from 300 miles away from their borders, can you imagine the crowds in front of the stores?

Arizona. Retail initiative. The polling numbers are junk out of Arizona, but I’ve always felt Arizona would go for it. Could be close. It’s not a large market.

Nevada. Retail initiative. Should pass easily. What could be more fun than Las Vegas with pot? The casinos don’t like it at all.

California. Retail initiative. If California blows this one they’ll never live it down. California is where the bulk of weed has come from in the west, and then nation-wide later. The layers of departments, agencies, rules, regulations and local options to be implemented will make the other states look like country bumpkins. Red-tape and paperwork will require lawyers and consultants, and lots of money. This will be a complete game-changer.

Then, there are local measures in CA and OR and Colorado, hundreds of them. Everything from complete prohibition to completely open.

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