On One Hand

November 7, 2004

Ballot Initiatives in 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:31 pm

Medicinal Marijuana: Good news for those who support legalized Marijuana: our culture is changing. As I said about the last election: Bush won on terrorism, successfully making that the big issue and capitalizing on fear. On most other issues, John Kerry was the favorable candidate. Ballot measures that Democrats would favor passed in many circumstances, with the exception of gay marriage.

In Alaska, a largely libertarian state, a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana possession, even for recreational use, won 43% of the vote. The initiative still lost, but 43% in favor of ending prohibition is an outstanding number compared to where most of the country is right now. In Alaska, recent court rulings make private possession of up to four ounces legal. State legislators have been trying to get passed this, but perhaps the strong support for legalizing marijuana will cause a few of them to change their minds.

Medical marijuana passed in Montana by 62%, making it the tenth state to allow for it.

In Oakland, California, voters passed a piece of legislation that would let marijuana be taxed and legislated as soon as it is legalized in the state. The new law also states that marijuana should become the lowest priority for law enforcement officials. It passed by 64%.

In Vermont, the Marijuana Policy Project campaigned against six highly favored Republican incumbent state legislators for opposing a medicinal marijuana bill that ended up passing anyway. THREE OF THE FAVORED INCUMBENTS LOST, tipping the state House to the Democrats.

Those are just some of the good ones.

Minimum Wage:

Florida raised minimum wage by a dollar. Nevada raised it as well.


California approved a $750 million dollar bond for Children’s hospitals and state funding for stem cell research.

Montana and Colorado each passed a tobacco tax to fund healthcare. Oklahoma passed a tobacco tax and assistance for senior citizens.


Rhode Island passed a bond to build residence halls at state universities, a separate bond for new libraries, and a third bond for a Science Center. Rhode Island also passed a bond to renovate and preserve historic sites. Colorado passed a “Science and Culture” sales tax to fund zoos and museums.


Denver area Regional Transportation District voters approved an expansive light-rail project to connect Denver to nearby suburbs and surrounding towns. Every mayor in the Denver Metro Area supported the plan, while the Governor and a Denver libertarian think-tank called “The Independence Institute” opposed it. It passed by a comfortable margain. Florida voters, however, repealed an existing statewide transportation plan (based on unrealistic cost estimates put forth by anti-transit politicians, including Governor Bush).


Rhode Island passed a bond to fund pollution control and a separate bond for improved water systems.

BORDERING ON RIDICULOUSNESS: It doesn’t have nearly the necessary number of signatures yet, but there is a ballot initiative in Florida that would give parents with children the right to vote more than once. The “Give Them A Voice Initiative” wants to bring attention to children’s issues by letting adults vote on behalf of their children. A paralell initiative put out by the same group wants to let guardians vote on behalf of mentally disabled people.



  1. Marijuana

    Dear Matt:
    Back in 1969, a panel looked into the harmful effects of marijuana, and they concluded that marijuana was no more harmful than tobacco. Instead of thinking how harmful tobacco is, Richard Nixon dismissed the panel. Tobacco has medicinal purposes as well. What is comes down to is that all drugs are NOT inherited harmful, only HOW people abuse them is harmful.

    Comment by buddyoverstreet — November 8, 2004 @ 1:26 am | Reply

    • Re: Marijuana

      Yeah I know all about Marijuana history. It was first made illegal in the 1920’s because it allegedly encouraged white women to sleep with black men. We can all thank the Petroleum industry for the original cause against it – they were worried that hemp oil may someday be more popular than gasolene, so lobbied for the FDA to make up that insane case. Hemp oil probably wouldn’t have ever been more cost efficient than gasolene, and wasn’t as big of a risk as the oil companies worried. But it is certainly more environmentally friendly: it burns cleaner and only as much Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere as the plant originally took from it.

      Comment by ononehand — November 8, 2004 @ 6:40 am | Reply

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