Legislation and Lobbying

Ballot initiative roundup: Marijuana, gun control and minimum wage measures pass

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Proponents for legalized marijuana, increased minimum wage and stricter gun control provisions had a good Election Night.

On Tuesday, voters in seven states approved various marijuana-related ballot initiatives. According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada will now allow recreational use of marijuana. Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota have expanded access to medicinal marijuana. In Arizona, on the other hand, a recreational-use initiative failed.

The California initiative could bring in up to $1 billion in revenue to the state, although the Wall Street Journal reports that it’ll take a while to hit that number as California begins issuing licenses to sell marijuana.

Meanwhile, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington all approved minimum wage hikes. Washington will raise its wage to $13.50 per hour while the other states will go to $12. “The minimum wage wins tonight show that progressive values live at the state level and at the ballot box,” said Justine Sarver, executive director of the left-leaning Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, to the newspaper.

Several gun control measures were approved by voters on Election Day. In Washington state, voters enacted a measure that would allow law enforcement or family members to petition the state to deny a high-risk individual access to firearms. In the meantime, California voters approved a ban on high-capacity magazines and will require background checks for ammunition purchases. According to the Wall Street Journal, background-check expansions in Maine looked likely to pass (the vote is still too close to call) while the Las Vegas Sun reports that a provision to close a background-check loophole has been successful in Nevada. The National Rifle Association came out against all of the gun control measures, saying that they hurt gun owners’ rights.

According to the Wall Street Journal, most of the state initiatives on the ballot Tuesday were backed by Democrats frustrated at making little headway with their state legislatures.

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