Marijuana, same-sex marriage initiatives are winners
The 2012 election broke new ground on the controversial issues of same-sex marriage and recreational marijuana use, with voters in some states voting in favor of both of them.
Colorado and Washington on Tuesday became the first states in the nation to approve of recreational marijuana. Early Wednesday morning, a third ballot measure to legalize marijuana appeared set to fail in Oregon.
Meanwhile, Maine and Maryland became the first two states to pass ballot initiatives approving of same-sex marriage.
In Colorado, Amendment 64 legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults ages 21 and older. It also requires the state to tax and regulate the sales of the substance. Washington state's Initiative 502 also legalizes, regulates and taxes marijuana.
It's unclear exactly how the federal government will respond to these initiatives, since marijuana use is still against federal law.
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Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told CBS News that "it's not immediately apparent" how the state will reconcile its new rules with federal law.
"I'm not sure we can make it as legal as voters would like us to do, but clearly the voters spoke," he told CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley.
Seventeen states have, over the past decade and a half, legalized medical marijuana -- also in violation of federal law, which prohibits any use of marijuana. However, it's up to federal officials how to enforce federal laws. In his first presidential campaign, President Obama promised to respect state medical marijuana laws, but his administration has cracked down on hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries, including some in compliance with state laws.
Three other states voted Tuesday night on medical marijuana: Massachusetts approved its Question 3 ballot initiative, while the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act appeared set to fail by early Wednesday morning. In Montana, medical marijuana is already legal, but voters as of Wednesday appeared set to approve a measure to keep more stringent restrictions in place.
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