Marijuana legalization: Oregon Measure 80 fails; Washington, Colorado pass

Marijuana legalization: Oregon Measure 80 fails; Washington, Colorado pass

EUGENE, Ore. - Ballot measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana passed in Colorado and Washington state but failed in Oregon, where voters were defeating Measure 80.

The Oregon measure struggled to raise money and support.

Exit polls in Oregon found women were more opposed to the measure to legalize pot than men.

Also, about 7 in 10 senior citizens voted against it, while middle-aged voters were split.

Moderates broke against the measure, while political independents were evenly split.

Measure 80 found support in Multnomah County, but didn't fare well in other regions of the state; Portland suburbs were split on the issue.

Arkansas voters defeated an initiative legalizing medical marijuana in early returns.

Massachusetts voters passed medical marijuana.

Montana voters supported a plan to modify their medical marijuana program.

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The three legalization measures touted potential tax windfalls for their states:

  • Colorado's campaign touts money for school construction. Ads promote the measure with the tag line, "Strict Regulation. Fund Education." State analysts project somewhere between $5 million and $22 million a year. An economist whose study was funded by a pro-pot group projects a $60 million boost by 2017.
     
  • Washington's campaign promises to devote more than half of marijuana taxes to substance-abuse prevention, research, education and health care. Washington state analysts have produced the most generous estimate of how much tax revenue legal pot could produce, at nearly $2 billion over five years.
     
  • Oregon's measure, known as the Cannabis Tax Act, would devote 90 percent of recreational marijuana profits to the state's general fund. Oregon's fiscal analysts haven't even guessed at the total revenue, citing the many uncertainties inherent in a new marijuana market. They have projected prison savings between $1.4 million and $2.4 million a year if marijuana use was legal without a doctor's recommendation.