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Among the many important offices and issues voted on in yesterday's midterm elections were marijuana legalization measures in Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia.
And after all was said and done, voters in both states and in Washington, D.C., voted to allow marijuana to be legalized, reports Reuters. Oregon and Alaska now join Washington state and Colorado as the third and fourth states to legalize recreational pot use.
What will these new voter-approved laws allow once they take effect?
In Oregon, voters approved Measure 91. The measure will take effect July 1, 2015, and will allow adults 21 and older to possess one ounce of marijuana in public and eight ounces of marijuana at home. Sales and production of marijuana and marijuana-infused products will be handled by the state's Liquor Control Commission, and tax money generated by marijuana sales will fund a variety of public services including schools, law enforcement, and health care, according to The Oregonian.
In Alaska, voter-approved Ballot Measure 2 makes it lawful for those 21 or older to possess, purchase, or transport up to one ounce of marijuana. The law also allows the possession and processing of up to six marijuana plants, although only three can be mature at any one time. The initiative also provides for marijuana retailers to set up shop in the state and becomes law 90 days after the election is certified, reports the Alaska Dispatch News.
In Washington D.C., Initiative 71 allows those over the age of 21 to possess, purchase or transport up to two ounces of marijuana and grow, harvest, and process up to six plants within "the interior of a house, building or rental unit that constitutes such person's principal residence." However, since the District of Columbia is not a state, its laws are subject to Congressional approval. At least one member of Congress has already announced plans to block the voter-approved initiative from taking effect, reports The Washington Post.
Of course, these new marijuana laws could potentially affect the prosecution of pot-related criminal cases, as happened in Colorado even before that state's law took effect. Those charged with pot-related offenses in Oregon, Alaska, or the District of Columbia may want to talk to a criminal defense lawyer about their case.
To learn more about the marijuana laws in your state, check out FindLaw's Learn About the Law section on State Marijuana Laws.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.