Saturday, November 3, 2012
Three US states poised to legalize cannabis and defy 'war on drugs'
Washington, Oregon and Colorado set to allow recreational use
Three US states are set to legalize recreational cannabis use this week in votes that could have major implications for the country's war on drugs.
Alongside their choice for president, residents of Washington, Oregon and Colorado – a swing state – will be asked on Tuesday whether they want to decriminalize cannabis.
If the measures are passed, adults over 21 would be able to possess, distribute and use small amounts. Cannabis for authorised medical use is already permitted and regulated by each state, even though it is against federal law.
Support is particularly strong in Washington and Colorado, but a "yes" vote in any of the states would be interpreted by the Department of Justice as an act of defiance against the federal government's war on drugs – the national law enforcement program that spends $44bn a year struggling to stem the tide of illegal drugs in the US.
In June 2011, however, the Global Commission on Drug Policy declared that the war on drugs had failed. Read more >>