With Montana’s approval of a medical marijuana initiative, nearly three-fourths of Western states now have such laws, reports the Associated Press. Only two of the 37 states outside the West have adopted them. It is easier to get pot issues on Western ballots because most states in the region allow such initiatives. Nationwide, just 24 states allow citizens to put issues on the ballot by petition, bypassing the Legislature. Eleven of those states are in the West.
Activists and political scientists say Westerners are less willing than other Americans to tell their neighbors what they can and can’t do. “I would guess many of the people that voted for it probably don’t use marijuana, but they don’t want to say their neighbors can’t,” said Steven Stehr, political science professor at Washington State University. Montana became the 11th state in the country – and the ninth Western state – to allow medical marijuana. The approval came even as Montana voted by wide margins to ban gay marriage and to re-elect President Bush.