Watch CBS News

Legalize-marijuana movement gains "significant" wins

The movement to legalize marijuana use is growing across the country, with voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., casting ballots in favor of measures that legalize recreational marijuana.

They join Colorado and Washington state, where it's already legal.

In Oregon, there was celebration and a sense they won on common sense, CBS News' Barry Petersen reports.

"Seeing through decades upon decades of 'Reefer Madness' propaganda, misinformation and outright lies," said Anthony Johnson, a supporter of marijuana legalization in Oregon.

In Alaska, 80 percent of drug arrests are for marijuana, prompting an ad by Bill Parker, former deputy commissioner of Alaska's Department of Corrections, leading up to Tuesday's vote.

"The war on marijuana is wasteful, and it hasn't worked," Parker said in the ad.

On Wednesday morning, The Associated Press reported that the Alaska measure passed.

Washington, D.C., voted to legalize pot use and possession in small amounts, but not sales.

Colorado and Washington state are still in their first year of what some call their great experiment -- allowing legal marijuana sales for recreational use.

"What happened with respect to marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington in 2012 was unprecedented," Beau Kilmer of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center said. "Now we're going to be adding Oregon and Washington, D.C., into the mix ... This is very significant."

Advocates have their sights set on 2016 and are pushing for a vote in California, one of more than 20 states where pot is already approved for medical use.

"California's a game-changer because it's such a big state and it's such a big marijuana market," Kilmer said.

Opponents promise a tough fight in California, but those who favor legalized pot sales say these latest votes prove that the times really are a-changin'.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.