PORTLAND, Ore. – A measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Oregon has passed.
Oregon becomes the third U.S. state to legalize recreational pot. With two-thirds of precincts reporting, legal pot lead the race by eight percentage points, 54 to 46.
Polls showed Measure 91 was extremely close heading into Election Day.
Opinions on the measure varied by age. The measure had support from 56 percent of voters under age 35, but only 30 percent support from voters older than 65, polls showed.
"It's always an uphill battle to win a marijuana legalization initiative in a year like this, when young people are so much less likely to vote, which makes today's victory all the sweeter," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The pace of reform is accelerating, other states are sure to follow, and even Congress is poised to wake from its slumber."
Under the measure, Oregonians 21 and older will be able to possess and smoke marijuana starting July 1 of 2015.
Adults will be able to carry up to one ounce legally, and have up to eight ounces at home, per household. Each household will be allowed grow up to four plants at a time for personal use.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will regulate the sale of marijuana in a similar way it regulates alcohol.
People over the age of 21 can purchase a limited amount of marijuana from licensed retailers. It will likely take around two years before the system is up and running in the state. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will have until January 1, 2016 to set up the system and rules for processing and selling pot. They could start accepting applications January 4.
There will be regulations on where people can consume marijuana. Driving under the influence will still prohibited.
Currently, marijuana is illegal except for medical use.
Medical marijuana laws will not be affected.
The campaign to legalize pot made a play for young voters on Facebook.
Supporters of marijuana legalization raised far more money than their opponents, including landing nearly $1.5 million from a group called Drug Policy Action.
The "no" campaign only raised a fraction of that money, with the majority coming from the Oregon State Sheriff's Association.