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Nation's capital legalizes marijuana, emboldens pot lobbyists countrywide




If there’s any question as to the service this shop provides, just examine the leafy, green, neon sign in the window for a clue. Photo by Joshua Barash.
If there’s any question as to the service this shop provides, just examine the leafy, green, neon sign in the window for a clue. Photo by Joshua Barash.
Photo by WehoCity via Flickr Creative Commons

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For the first time, marijuana advocates have gained a foothold on the East Coast, in a place that could force Congress to make pot policy for the nation. Voters in the District of Columbia voted 69-31 percent Tuesday to legalize growing, possessing or sharing up to two ounces of pot - a law that will have to be reviewed by Capitol Hill as is standard for all D.C. legislation.

It's debatable whether Congress will use its authority to quash the wishes of D.C. voters. Either way, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance says it will be an education because "[m]embers of Congress are literally going to be witness to these changes." He told the Associated Press, "It's a form of educating the members of Congress in a way that some members would not get educated depending on the states they're from."

Oregon and Alaska also approved legalization initiatives on Tuesday - joining the pioneering states of Colorado and Washington. What were the keys to success for these ballot initiatives? How are opponents to legalization reacting? What are the respective campaigns planning for 2016?

Guests:

Robert Capecchi, Deputy Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project - a D.C. based advocacy organization founded in 1995.

Kevin Sabet, President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana - a group opposed to legalization; Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida; former Advisor of the National Drug Control Strategy for the Obama Administration.