American Voters Endorse Drug Policy Reform: Nine of Nine Measures Succeed

Press Release November 3, 1998
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Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 x 1383

NEW YORK – Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of drug policy reform in elections Tuesday. Initiatives to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana were on the ballot in Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State. All six passed by wide margins. Three other reform measures succeeded. In Oregon, voters rejected – by a margin of 2 to 1 – an effort by the state legislature to recriminalize marijuana possession. In Arizona, voters rejected the state legislature’s efforts to undercut a reform initiative enacted in 1996. As of today, 20% of Americans now live in states where voters have passed laws supporting medical marijuana.

“Yesterday’s clean sweep of victories for medical marijuana and drug policy reform herald a new era in the electoral politics of the drug war,” said Ethan Nadelmann, director of The Lindesmith Center. “These results represent a wake up call to politicians, both those accustomed to engaging in drug war demagoguery and those who have so far been fearful of proposing pragmatic alternatives to the war on drugs.”

Election results have been posted to this Web site.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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