Voters OK recreational pot use in Washington, gay marriage in Maine

November 8th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

Voters a continent apart made history on two divisive social issues Tuesday, with Maine becoming the first state to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote and Washington state becoming the first to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

The outcome in Maine broke a 32-state streak, dating to 1998, in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that voted on it.

Maryland and Washington also were voting on legalization of same-sex marriage — The Washington Post reported that Maryland’s measure passed by a narrow margin — while Minnesota voters were considering an amendment that would place a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution.

The marijuana measure in Washington sets up a showdown with the federal government, which outlaws the drug. The measure establishes a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retailers where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a blood test limit for driving under the influence.

It’s estimated that pot taxes could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The outcomes of similar measures in Colorado and Oregon were uncertain.

In all, 176 measures were on the ballots in 38 states, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California.

From wire reports

AT A GLANCE: Social issues on the ballots

GAY MARRIAGE: Maine’s referendum on same-sex marriage marked the first time that gay-rights supporters had put the issue to a popular vote. They hoped to reverse the outcome of a 2009 referendum that quashed a gay-marriage law enacted by

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