Cannabis legalization proponents might need to start adding “64” to their Mega Millions picks.
With the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, Colorado became the first state in America to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.
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Come this fall, the largest state in the nation will have a chance to do the same — if California’s Proposition 64 passes.
Earlier this month, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act landed on California’s general election ballot under No. 64 (then No. 63, then No. 64 again). The proposition numbering, which occurs in 10-year cycles starting with the No. 1, was purely coincidental, said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of Colorado’s Yes on Amendment 64 campaign.
“I think the facts will carry far more weight than the number of the initiative,” Tvert said. “It certainly could be a good sign that history will soon repeat itself.”
When Tvert and others were notified that the initiative would land on the ballot as Proposition 64, it was amusing, he said.
It didn’t take long for the novelty to wear off.
“And then it quickly became annoying, because the state went back and forth,” he said.
The ballot numbers changed three times in a span of 28 hours, reported the Sacramento Bee. The impetus for the musical numeral chairs was Senate Bill 254, a proposal to overturn the 2010 Citizens United initiative that allowed for Super PAC funding, according to the Sacramento Bee:
The secretary of state’s office, though, then found a sentence near the end of SB 254 noting that it should be placed on the ballot “following all other ballot measures.” That changed Proposition 59 to Proposition 67, and subtracted one from propositions 60 through 67. Yet upon further review of the legislation, officials realized that the last-in-order placement applied only if the bill had passed after June 30. So it was back to the original order.
Coincidences aside, a close eye will be on California’s election results — and those of other states voting on medical and recreational marijuana, Tvert said.
“Every state is different and every state is going to need to adopt laws that reflect those differences, but they can learn from one another,” he said. “And hopefully, they can have several more examples they can pull from in the future.”