On Tuesday, initiative 502 passed in Washington, when 55 per cent of voters approved of legalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by those of legal age.

The initiative taxes and regulates the selling and production of cannabis, and makes it illegal to drive while under the influence.

A similar initiative was also passed in the state of Colorado, and residents of British Columbia are hoping the change south of the boarder will open minds in Canada as well.

Dan Larson, a pot advocate and the leader of Sensible B.C, is currently campaigning to create a similar referendum for the fall of 2014.

“I think this is a huge blow against the war on cannabis. We need to follow the example put forward by Washington State to end prohibition, to legalize it,” he told CBC after the results were announced.

The Young Liberals of Canada also applauded the decision of Washington and Colorado voters, noting their discontent with both Prime Minister Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s decision to reject the decriminalization of marijuana, in a statement released on Wednesday.

“This is an important first step and inspiration to activists in Canada who want to see Canada embrace a smart drug policy. We are losing over a billion dollars of tax revenue, wasting over $400 million trying to enforce a failed drug strategy and giving young people criminal records. This Harper/Mulcair plan for Canada is wrong,” wrote David Valentin, vice president of communications for the Young Liberals.

Jodie Emery, recent ideacity speaker and wife of imprisoned Marc Emery – the pot activist who was jailed in the U.S for selling cannabis seeds from his Vancouver business to Americans – was particularly excited by the results.

“It’s nothing but positive news for us and we hope the Harper government is paying attention. We’re both affected by the drug violence and the trade that goes across the border. And if Washington is going to legalize it – well it’s our turn to do it next,” she told CBC.

The Canadian government has often said that legalization would negatively effect our relationship with our neighbours, but both Emery and and Larson feel this proves such an argument to be untrue.

Watch Jodie Emery talk about her husband’s efforts, and the pressing need to legalize marijuana here in Canada, at a recent ideacity conference:

What do you think about the issue? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: CBC, ideacity

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Douglas Rial

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by:
Lisa Lagace