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How Do 2014 Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Compare To 2012?


marijuana election 2014Election Day 2014 is rapidly approaching, and it’s likely that there will be two states and Washington D.C. voting on marijuana legalization. Alaska’s legalization campaign has already made it on the ballot, and efforts in Washington D.C. and Oregon are likely to also get on the ballot. None of the efforts are guaranteed to win of course, but for the purpose of this article, let’s assume all three pass. This is not a far fetched scenario, as all three efforts for 2014 are ahead in the polls.

How would the three 2014 marijuana legalization initiatives compare to the successful 2012 initiatives in Colorado and Washington? For starters, all of the initiatives previously mentioned would set the legal age at 21 years old. Also, all of the initiatives allow for retail stores. The main differences revolve around possession and cultivation limits.

Colorado allows the cultivation of up to 6 marijuana plants. Washington does not allow any cultivation of marijuana. Both the Washington D.C. initiative and the Alaska initiative allow up to six plants, but unlike Colorado, they specify that only three of those plants can be ‘mature.’ The Oregon campaign allows up to four plants, with no distinction of whether the plants are mature or not. One thing that I always point out to people is that Oregon has the best climate for growing marijuana compared to Colorado, Alaska, or D.C., especially in Southern Oregon. One outdoor plant in Southern Oregon grown the right way can dwarf six indoor plants in Colorado or Alaska combined. For that reason, I think the Oregon cultivation limit is the best. Washington, which doesn’t allow any cultivation, is obviously the worse in this area.

When it comes to possession limits, Colorado and Washington both allow possession of up to one ounce. If passed, Alaska would also allow the possession of one ounce. The D.C. initiative would allow possession of two ounces. Oregon would be the best in this area, because if the initiative passes, it would allow possession of up to eight ounces.

There are other areas to consider with initiatives such as where funding goes, what regulations will be enacted, etc. But most of those areas are evolving, and will change who knows how many times over the years. To me, based off of cultivation and possession limits, Oregon is by far the best initiative out of the five. That’s why the Drug Policy Alliance’s Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann calls New Approach Oregon’s initiative ‘the gold standard.’ Washington is clearly the worst. Disclaimer – I’m a lifelong Oregon resident, and have a lot of home state pride. Take this article for what you will, but I feel that the math speaks for itself.


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Johnny Green


  1. They have 6 or 9 months to develop regulations, then an application process, then buildout. 2016 at the earliest.

  2. How many plants can you grow if you use the leaves for toilet paper or the stems to make rope? Seems like this is just a bunch of more government nonsense to me.

  3. rodney clawson on

    Witchita. Ive asked alot of people around here and nothing… i need my medication. Seems like people are scared

  4. Out of curiosity cause I live in KC and can get pot extremely easily, where in kansas did you move?? It just surprises me you’re having trouble finding it, considering we live in a state that borders Colorado and many people bring large quantities across the border as well as many people growing their products in the KC area

  5. Yeah, you hit on the problem, the plant that was legal in the ground suddenly becomes illegal when pulled. 2 oz / 6 plants sounds good on paper, but in reality it’s almost set up for failure, simply because of the nature of the plant and process. Especially for new growers, which will be many, where you have to budget for a few mistakes. Plus, the variables are just infinite. One big fat outdoor Sativa with plenty of sun and good soil will blow past 2 oz, an expert could get 4 or 6 oz. But, you could grow a dwarf auto in a coffee can on a window sill and get an ounce and be safe. Outdoors, in middle to northern states, and with a photoperiod Sativa, you have pretty much one chance all year to grow that thing. So with that, most people will plant all they can (say the 6 plants), and that will be your harvest for the rest of the year. Now you’re at let’s say 20 oz to last till harvest next year, cool. Jar it up and store it, pull out a jar a month or so, and hope nobody cares. Or, another scenario (unrealistic but just for conversation sake), indoor, auto, perpetual. Each month, you plant 1 plant, each month you harvest 1 plant, 2 oz if grown badly. Now you’re racing to get through 2 oz before next month! Not everyone wants to be high all day or every day haha :) For me, and a great many light consumers, 2 oz of medical grade Sensi would last a couple months. Just some thoughts for the sake of talk.

  6. I’ve made the same error as you by replying to myself rather than you. See my second reply below.

  7. Thanks for your support and I apologize for not responding properly before now. Please check my reply to Bongstar 420 above. I think you might appreciate what we’ve said to one another. Happy growing!

  8. You don’t seem to get it that the growing-processed ratio is much more complicated, at least for outdoor growing. Take, for example, that you grow a single female plant and when the harvesting, drying, curing, process is complete you have three ounces; and surely you agree that’s quite low. Well, that plant which was legal in the ground suddenly becomes illegal. What’s more, if you plan to use that weed until the next havest then you have to ration it out, in reality a year later (auto-flowering being an exception). That would mean 2 ounces for a year in Oregon; 1 ounce in Colorado. Hopefully you can see the absurdity of all that.

    Like all civilized people, I’m thilled that legalization has taken place and I’ll take it with its flaws. Still, this is a fairly simple issue that could could be dealt with easily enough. One idea is to consider the weight of the finished product rather than the number of plants. Another is to consider how long it is intended for use; I.e., the next harvest. Of course, indoor is a completely different game.

  9. rodney clawson on

    I just moved to Kansas from Texas and how come I have people come up to me in Texas asking me to buy pot but in Kansas I have asked 20+ people and all say no. I need my medication so bad. Is there anything I can do?

  10. Surefire Cherub on

    So just to clarify further…..


    Private possession limit: Unlimited (as long as it’s homegrown)

    Public possession limit: 1 ounce

    Plant limit : 6 per adult (only 3 flowering)


    Private possession limit: Unlimited (as long as it’s homegrown)

    Public possession limit: 1 ounce

    Plant limit : 6 per adult (only 3 flowering)


    Private possession limit: 8 ounces (as long as it’s homegrown)

    Public possession limit: 1 ounce

    Plant limit : 4 per household


    Private possession limit: 1 ounce

    Public possession limit: 1 ounce

    Plant limit: 0 (no growing allowed)

    ( AND sorry I don’t know much about the proposed D.C law……………)

  11. Surefire Cherub on

    Unfortunately johnny seems to be a little misinformed about the different laws and how they compare. While it’s true that the Oregon initiative allows possession of up to eight ounces, that’s only if comes from the 4 plants your allowed to grow, and only on private property. Once your off your own private property the limit drops to an ounce no matter what. The Colorado law also has the rule about only 3 being mature plants, but your allowed to keep your whole harvest no matter how much pot is produced, unlike Oregon. The Oregon law limits cultivation to 4 plants per household, unlike Colorado and Alaska where it’s 6 plants per 21+ adult living in the household(although some municipalities in Colorado have limited it to 12 plants per household with zoning rules) The best laws in the country proposed or implemented so far are Colorado and Alaska.

  12. Its super easy to estimate the dry weight of a crop at harvest (its 10-20% depending on if the plant was dry or wet at harvest). Plus, the finish weight can be estimated before the crop is even planted (most Cannabis yields about 400g/m^2). If people are over their limits, its because they are dumb or they planned it. It always pisses me off the hear people whine about holding limits. 400-500w of led in a closet with 4 plants (2 in veg) will produce more than an individual can consume unless they are very wasteful or breaking distribution laws. Of course, they would have to be decent growers with decent knowledge which would motivate them to go commercial.

  13. Lets stop criminalizing millions of Americans and wasting billions of our dollars in a futile attempt to eradicate something objectively safer than alcohol. Please consider what the following cannabis legalization organizations have to say. Help end this very costly (money is only a small part), senseless, unjust, unfounded, harmful, and more importantly, un-American prohibition by joining their mailing lists, signing their petitions and writing your legislators when they call for it.

    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Project – http://www.mpp.org/
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws – http://norml.org/
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – http://www.leap.cc/
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliance – http://www.drugpolicy.org/

  14. Just as long as smoking a joint isn’t laced with paranoia, which it always is, law induced

    If you don’t believe me I don’t care, I moved to colorado a year ago and have never been paranoid since, not at all

    Instead of being classed with hard drugs, it’s classified with alcohol and tobacco, which are comparatively worse; even to them, marijuana is comparatively benign, definitely should be reformed everywhere, sometimes the progress may be slower, and it will be slower if profit is stifled, which is why those limits correspond to a need to charge people a but load on this frontier of unprecedented “recreation” & MEDICINE

  15. Just remember, the 8 oz possession in Oregon will be at home only. On the streets, you can only have 1 oz.

    Oregon also adopts Washington’s limits of 16 oz of edibles and 72 oz of liquids, plus adds 1 oz of concentrates that Washington does not. However, home production of BHO will be specifically outlawed by Oregon.

  16. I’ve noticed that odd too. If I understand the DC initiative, its 6 plants and 2 oz., so you have to grow the perpetual method 1 plant per harvest stage, just to stay legal. Just 2 plants would bust past 2 oz easy. In fact, you’d have to grow a dwarf auto (like Lowryder or Royal Dwarf) and then grow it badly to only make 2 oz lol. I mean just to stay legal. Meh, doubt anyone will be that strict with it in reality. (oops hit reply to wrong comment, was in re to Ron’s comment :)

  17. If all strains of medical marijuana are voted in to law in Florida on November 4 2014 they say they will have dispensaries ready to go and serve patients by the first week of jan2015 basically 2 months later which I guess is very possible since I hear that if grown properly indica which yields more marijuana or buds than Sativa does is a growers choice also because indica produces more than sativa in a two month amount of time, is this true and can they be ready to serve patients in 2 months please respond with gmail or however you guys reply

  18. All three have a good chance. Oregon has been chomping at the bit for legal cannabis ever since (and long before) the 2012 initiative failed. Alaska has been embroiled by the cannabis issue for decades, so I trust they’re ready to pull the trigger, as well. DC voters will certainly approve their measure, but I cannot say whether or not Andy Harris is going to give us a repeat performance of the spectacle he made of himself over DC’s decriminalization efforts.

    Clearly, states are reforming their laws more and more, every year. After Florida becomes a medical cannabis state, now that New York is also (sort of), more than half of the US population lives in a state with access to medical cannabis (again, sort of — I don’t like counting New Jersey, given how hamstrung their program has been).

    It makes me wonder if the fabled “tipping point” is close, or if this is going to be an ongoing, state-by-state, inch-by-inch process across the country. I’ve always said that other movements such as gay rights, civil rights, women’s rights, etc., have certain historical moments of significance that defined the movement, in some way; events people proudly report “I was there” or “I saw it,” like the Stonewall riots or the Selma marches. Arguably, those were “tipping points” for those movements. I wish I knew what would/could have that sort of historical significance for the cannabis law reform movement. The ongoing horrors and tragedies, like a grenade thrown into a baby crib, don’t seem to qualify.

  19. Some states like MN and NY ban smoking and a realistic dispensary system. I know the MN law has additional penalties for participants who divert cannabis meds given by the state. It will be sad to watch the incarceration rates climb with increased incarceration laws, and the politicians fumble as the fascist toxic experiment unfolds. At least it documents corruption I guess.

  20. One thing that confuses me is the correlation between the number plants allowed and the amount of possession allowed. For example, if you harvest 4 plants and you’re allowed 2 ounces and the fuzz drops by the day after the harvesting process is complete, they will find a hell of a lot more than 2 ounces.

  21. The Federal Government needs to pass a bill legalizing cannabis and hemp nationally! And allow banks to do business with these companies. State that do legalize cannabis need to allow cannabis coffee vapor cafe. This would give citizens a place to smoke without breaking the law. Legalize Cannabis and hemp and earmark all taxes for college students education fund and k-12 students, and don’t cut taxes when we get a windfall from. Taxing cannabis and hemp.

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