Reefer Madness," says MPP's Bruce Mirken. " data-pin-do="buttonBookmark">
MARIJUANA REFORM: Massachusetts decriminalizes pot, and Michigan legalizes its medical uses, rejecting "the most intense government war on marijuana since the days of Reefer Madness," says MPP's Bruce Mirken. Image:
In addition to electing Barack Obama president and carrying a wave of Dems to victory in Congress, voters in several states approved ballot initiatives decriminalizing marijuana, lifting limits on embryonic stem cell research, allowing doctor-assisted suicide—and nixed others that would have restricted abortions and provided rebates for fuel-efficient vehicles
In Massachusetts voters okayed a measure to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. The new law, set to take effect in 30 days, requires anyone caught with that amount of weed to pay a $100 civil fine.
Michigan, meanwhile, became the 13th state to allow patients with an Rx to use pot to treat pain and nausea caused by cancer and other diseases.
"Tonight's results represent a sea change," Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a group working to decriminalize pot, declared when the votes were tallied. "Voters have spectacularly rejected eight years of the most intense government war on marijuana since the days of Reefer Madness (a 1936 propaganda film designed to scare teens out of using marijuana by depicting pot smokers as a bunch of deranged lunatics, which, decades later, became a cult hit).
Mirken hailed voters for refusing to cave in to pressure from Bush White House drug czar John Walters, who had campaigned against Proposal 1 in Michigan—and from district attorneys in Massachusetts who had warned of dire consequences if penalties for pot possession were reduced despite evidence to the contrary in 11 states with similar laws. "It may take a year or two, but the federal war on medical marijuana is dead. Finished. Over," MPP executive director Rob Kampia said in a statement.
Washingtonians made their state the second to approve doctor-assisted suicide. The "Death with Dignity" law allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill, competent adults given no more than six months to live who request and self-administer them. Neighboring Oregon is the only other state where assisted suicide is legal.
In Colorado voters shot down Amendment 48, the "Personhood Initiative," by a three-to-one margin. The measure would have defined human life as starting "from the moment of fertilization"—which in essence would have made abortion a crime and put the brakes on embryonic stem cell research there.
More than 7,000 Colorado doctors and 75 organizations opposed the initiative, saying it would have interfered with privacy and research.