Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia Should Legalize Pot
The decision by California voters in 1996 to legalize medical marijuana produced a wave of similar initiatives around the country. Less than two decades later, over half the states allow at least limited medical use. Now it looks as though recreational use of the drug may follow the same path.
In 2012, Washington State and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. This November, voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will decide whether to do the same — effectively disregarding the misguided federal ban on a drug that is far less dangerous than alcohol. Decades of arresting people for buying, selling and using marijuana have hurt more than helped society, and minority communities have been disproportionately affected by the harsh criminal penalties of prohibition.
Since Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia already allow medical marijuana, taking the next step makes good sense. There are some differences in their proposed initiatives, but they are all worthy of passage.