Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2014
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Ian Austin
Page: A2


British Columbians woke up Wednesday in a corridor of two U.S. states 
where marijuana is legal - and advocates say B.C. is in line to be next.

Oregon residents voted to legalize pot Tuesday, making the state the 
third in the U.S. to allow the drug's recreational use. And voters in 
the District of Columbia approved a ballot measure legalizing 
possession of marijuana by adults.

Barring an attempt by Congress to block the move, the nation's 
capital will join the company of Colorado and Washington state, where 
voters approved the recreational use of pot two years ago.

Another western state, Alaska, had marijuana-legalization measures on 
its ballot Tuesday.

The District of Columbia's marijuana measure doesn't provide for the 
legal sale of marijuana, leaving that matter to the D.C. Council. 
That's different from the measures in Oregon and Alaska, which would 
follow the example of Colorado and Washington state in setting up 
systems for regulating and taxing retail sales of marijuana. The D.C. 
measure would make it legal to possess up to two ounces of pot and up 
to three mature marijuana plants for personal use. It won't take 
effect until after a review by Congress.

"I feel very strongly it's going to pass in those states, along with 
Washington, D.C.," said Aaron Nelson of Bellingham based 2020 
Solutions before Tuesday's votes.

Nelson has just opened his second Bellingham, Wash., operation 
conveniently situated near the Bellis Fair mall, and expects 25 per 
cent of his customers to be Canadians taking advantage of 
Washington's legal-pot laws.

"Business is booming," said Nelson, whose thriving shop is one of the 
reasons Washingtonians are embracing legal marijuana: Tax revenue is 
helping balance public books.

Nelson checks for ID from everyone who shows up to buy his legal 
product, regardless of age.

"And all of our clerks get training with the Liquor Control Branch to 
spot illegal ID," he noted. "And I think when people in B.C. see how 
it can be done properly ... it's just a matter of time before it's 
legalized there."

That's the goal of Dana Larsen, director of Sensible B.C., who wanted 
to see at least one yes vote Tuesday to continue building momentum 
for the legalization movement here.

"I think it will be very symbolic if marijuana is legal in the 
capital of the United States," said Larsen, who tried unsuccessfully 
to launch a pot referendum in B.C.

While a retry - a 2017 B.C. pot referendum - is still possible, 
Larsen is hoping for quicker progress via the next federal election, 
with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair both 
calling for more relaxed rules.

"When two of the three party leaders say there needs to be a change 
in marijuana laws, I think this will be the first election where 
marijuana is a major election issue," Larsen said.

Washington state and Colorado have legalized possession of one ounce 
of recreational pot for adults aged 21 and over.

Alaska originally decriminalized pot in 1975, but a series of court 
challenges bounced the initiative back and forth. Tuesday's vote may 
put an end to decades of wrangling.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom