By Aaron Houston, Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy
As you know, this election day was an exciting one for drug policy reform. There is a lot we are proud to report, so it’s taken us a few days to get this message to you. It’s been a crazy week (as you might imagine), and we wanted to take the time to get this important announcement right.
Last Tuesday marked the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition as Colorado (55%-45% on Amendment 64) and Washington (56%-44% on Initiative 502) voters said yes to legalizing marijuana!
These historic victories would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our supporters, allies and colleagues.
Through our online phonebanking tool, SSDPers from across the country made 17,882 calls to Colorado voters under the age of 30 to help turn out the all important youth vote. We made more calls than any other organization — drug policy or not! On the ground, our students and alumni played critical roles, canvassing on campuses, phone banking, sign waving, recruiting volunteers and more. We’re incredibly proud of these contributions from such a dedicated, professional core of young volunteers.
We are so proud to have been a part of history this year by helping to advance sensible drug policies around the country. Thank you and congratulations again to everyone who played a part. Please consider becoming a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy so we can continue chipping away at the failed war on drugs.
In all of the excitement about legalization victories, we want to make sure to point out several other notable victories:
- Ypsilanti, MI: Redirecting police efforts away from marijuana violations
With 74% of the vote, Ypsilanti citizens approved a proposal to make enforcing marijuana law violations the lowest priority for law enforcement. Our SSDP chapter at Eastern Michigan University and the Ypsilanti Lowest Law Enforcement Priority initiative spearheaded the effort. Read more.
- San Francisco, CA: SSDP Alumna elected to BART board
Rebecca Saltzman is a proud alumni member of SSDP, on Tuesday she was elected to represent District 3 on San Francisco’s BART Board of Directors with 55.5% of the vote.
- Massachusetts: The 18th state to approve medical marijuana access
With an impressive margin of 63%-37%, Massachusetts voters passed Question 3, legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Many SSDPers participated in the get out the vote campaign and played important roles in this victory.
- California: Ending the “Three Strikes Law”
68.7% of California voters said yes Proposition 36, an initiative to reform the state’s “Three Strikes Law”, a draconian policy that mandated strict sentences for people with more than two offenses. Read more.
Also, we would like to recognize those who worked on the campaigns that unfortunately were not successful this year, we know you had very difficult environments to work in and you should be proud of your efforts. In Oregon, Measure 80 would have taxed and regulated marijuana for adults over 21. The initiative was defeated 54%-46%. In Arkansas, Question 5 would have allowed access to medical marijuana for qualified pateints. The initiative was narrowly defeated 51%-49%. And in Montana, IR-124 will ban medical marijuana in the state. Voters passed this initiative 57% – 43%.
Finally, SSDP would like to thank and congratulate a few groups who spearheaded the campaigns in Colorado and Washington:
– Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol
– New Approach Washington
– Marijuana Policy Project
– Drug Policy Alliance