Among Colorado voters marijuana legalization is more popular than President Obama or Mitt Romney. This Tuesday the voters in the state approved Amendment 64, which legalizes marijuana under state law, by a remarkably large margin. With most of the vote now counted, Amendment 64 was approved 54.92 percent yes to 45.08 percent no.
As it currently stands 1,307,288 people in Colorado went to the polls and voted to legalize marijuana. By comparison, only 1,252,269 people in the state cast a ballot for Barack Obama for President and just 1,135,165 voted for Mitt Romney. More voters in Colorado want marijuana to be legalized than believe Obama should serve a second term.
This is not just an interesting factoid but could have real political implications at both a local and national level. Unlikely Washington State, which also legalized marijuana this year, Colorado is not some liberal bastion. In 2010 Colorado featured one of the most competitive Senate races, and for the past several presidential elections it has been one of the most heavily contested swing states. Colorado is a place both major parties are competitive statewide.
Amendment 64’s strong victory shows that marijuana legalization is not just a winning issue in heavily Democratic areas, but is a position that is now popular in the so-called purple states. If as a politician you oppose marijuana legalization in a place like Colorado you now risk alienating the majority of the electorate. Publicly endorsing marijuana legalization should now be viewed as a politically smart move in large segments of the country.
The fact that marijuana legalization has noticeably more support than Obama in Colorado may also have an impact on the law’s implementation in the state. If there are showdowns with federal agencies over marijuana being legal under state law the fact that it is more popular than the President could encourage local officials to side against the feds.
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