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Marijuana legalization measures fail in Colorado, Nevada, South Dakota

[JURIST] US proponents of marijuana legalization took stock Wednesday after voters in Colorado, Nevada and South Dakota rejected mid-term ballot measures that would have decriminalized use of the drug in certain circumstances. In Colorado, voters on Tuesday rejected Amendment 44 [backgrounder, PDF] that would have legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for adults over age 21 who use the drug for recreational reasons and would have eliminated a current $150 fine imposed on individuals other than those who need marijuana for medicinal purposes. The amendment was pressed by the Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) [advocacy website] after a bill was passed in Denver last year making the drug technically legal in the city. SAFER argued that legalizing pot would be less dangerous than alcohol use, but acknowledged that acceptance of the drug may take many years. But groups such as Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana [advocacy website], which argues that legalizing the drug will promote teenage drug use, were pleased with the amendment's rejection. The Denver Post has local coverage.

Voters in Nevada and South Dakota also rejected measures legalizing marijuana. In Nevada, Question 7 [text] would have allowed persons over 21 to purchase, possess, use and transport up to one ounce of marijuana. On Wednesday, the Nevada Secretary of State's office reported the following returns:

YES 44.07% 252,776
NO 55.93% 320,854

In South Dakota, voters narrowly rejected [returns] Initiated Measure 4 [text]:

NO 173190 - 52 percent
YES 157956 - 48 percent

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