Campaigns to become the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Washington and Colorado have raised $3 million for a November vote, far outpacing the opposition, Reuters reports. Proponents of pot legalization in Washington state have raised nearly $2 million since the initiative qualified for the ballot in January, and about $1 million in Colorado since its measure earned a place on the ballot in February. In Oregon, where a voter referendum qualified in July, the legalization campaign reported less than $1,000 in contributions.
Backers of legalization in Washington and Colorado have bought television ads in a bid to convince voters, especially those who have never smoked pot, of merits of legalizing and taxing it. Legalizing the drug for recreational purposes would run afoul of the federal government, which says that marijuana is a dangerous narcotic. Referendums in the three Western states, among the 17 that already allow marijuana for medical purposes, comes as some states battle with the federal government over its raids of medical marijuana dispensaries. “If one of these initiatives wins, it will really be a breakthrough,” said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which seeks alternatives to the current U.S. policy to combat drug use.