SAM Action Statement on 2016 Election

SAM Action Statement on

2016 Election

Arizona defeats legalization, but California, Nevada, and Massachusetts pass legalization; Maine too close to call; Local pushback in Oregon is strong; Anti-legalization governor in VT is elected

SAM will launch $1M+ Marijuana Accountability Project


(Alexandria, VA) — Tonight, Arizona resisted legalization, but deep pocketed pro-marijuana investors prevailed in California, and in fairly close votes in Nevada and Massachusetts. We trail in Maine by less than 1%, and are not ready to concede that race yet. A new governor in Vermont was elected who has said he is against marijuana legalization. And several Oregon cities rejected marijuana sales. However, Denver may have voted to allow indoor marijuana use at bars, cafes or art galleries.

Tonight’s results were disappointing overall, but given how we were outspent by 15 to 1, not wholly unsurprising,” said SAM President Kevin Sabet, who also served as a White House drug advisor. “There are several bright spots: Arizona resisted legalization and their campaign will be a blueprint for other states in the future. Vermont Governor-elect Phil Scott will be replacing the most pro-legalization governor in our history (Peter Shumlin), and a pushback is starting in Oregon.  No matter what happens in Maine, we will be in a strong position when the legislature meets. We will redouble our efforts with this new Congress. And we won’t abandon the legalized states, where much work remains to be done.”

In Massachusetts, the vote to legalize marijuana was by far the most competitive on the ballot, with opponents falling short 47-53.

SAM Honorary Advisor Patrick Kennedy said, “It’s disappointing that big marijuana and their millions of out-of-state dollars were able to win in many states tonight, but this is just the beginning of the story. We will continue to hold this industry accountable, and raise the serious public health and safety issues that will certainly come in the wake of legalization.”

A new, $1M+ initiative

Today alone, SAM raised $1M in pledges for a new Marijuana Accountability Project (MAP) that promises to keep state officials and the industry accountable— by making sure data is collected, municipalities are empowered to ban stores in their neighborhoods, and the industry pays for their damage.  SAM will also explore legal options against the industry and we will continue to engage in states with stakeholders around this issue, as well as with the new US Congress and Presidential Administration.

Part of MAP, “Are We Sure?” is a new campaign we will unveil in municipalities who want to stop marijuana stores and cultivation sites. We will use this in states that have not legalized also. The details of the program will be unveiled in a few days on the “Are We Sure?” website,