With the election now over, the real work is just beginning in many states. Two of the most talked-about state election results? Marijuana and same-sex marriage.
In both Washington and Colorado, residents voted to legalize marijuana: adults over the age of 21 may legally possess small amounts of marijuana (under one ounce). Importantly, possession is not limited to state residents – visitors to the state will also be afforded protection under the law, which has led many to fear a surge in marijuana-related tourism. However, those fears may be premature, as the drug is still considered illegal under federal law; although the states will be preparing for the new laws, they are also proceeding cautiously amid rumors that the U.S. Department of Justice may take the matter to court.
Marriage equality was also on the ballot, as voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry – and Minnesota voters rejected a ban on same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, same-sex marriage proponents in California await word from the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to decide later this month whether to hear the case challenging Prop. 8 (the 2008 Proposition that banned gay marriage). Although California courts have declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional, a stay is in place preventing couples from marrying pending continued litigation. If the Supreme Court chooses not to hear the case, California is expected to start issuing marriage certificates early next year. [REG]