Marijuana advocates, fresh off victories for legal recreational pot in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., are preparing for their next target: California, the Associated Press reports. They aim to ask voters in the largest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2016, hoping to draw on a more liberal and larger electorate during a presidential election to help avoid a repeat of a 2010 failed pot measure.
The victories in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia came in a midterm election that saw a low turnout and a conservative electorate hand Republicans back control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2006. “This is a Republican wave year, so we’re excited for our prospects,” said David Boyer, who is leading Maine’s legal pot effort for 2016. “In a tough midterm, we gained steam.” Legalization opponent Kevin Sabet called the votes “a bit of a wake-up call before 2016,” noting that drug policy groups had spent millions on the legalization campaigns, vastly outspending opponents. “This is going to make our side redouble our efforts to find donors who can put forth real money,” said Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.