By the time the 21st Amendment ended national alcohol prohibition in 1933, more than a dozen states had opted out. Reason.com says we could see the beginning of a similar rebellion against marijuana prohibition this year as voters Washington, Colorado, and Oregon decide whether to legalize the drug’s production and sale for recreational use. If any of these ballot initiatives pass, it might be the most consequential election result this fall. With six weeks to go before Election Day, Oregon’s Measure 80, which would establish a commission charged with licensing growers and selling marijuana through state-run stores, seems to be in trouble. In a SurveyUSA poll this month, only 37 percent of respondents said they planned to vote yes, while 41 percent were opposed and 22 percent were undecided.
The other two initiatives are polling strongly. A SurveyUSA poll two weeks ago said 57 percent of Washington voters favor Initiative 502, which would authorize private pot stores regulated by the state liquor commission; only 34 percent were opposed. A SurveyUSA poll completed on September 12 found that 51 percent of Colorado voters support Amendment 64, which would allow home cultivation of up to six plants and create a licensing system for growers and retailers; 40 percent were opposed. Neither of these measures is a sure thing. California’s Proposition 19, a marijuana legalization measure that was ultimately supported by 47 percent of voters in 2010, polled above 50 percent in several surveys.