Voters in Guam approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that would legalize marijuana for “debilitating medical conditions” such as epilepsy, HIV, cancer and glaucoma. The bill, which passed by more than 56 percent, makes Guam the first U.S. territory to legalize medical pot.
The decision marks the first victory in a flurry of marijuana-related ballot measures this Election Day. Residents of Florida will also vote on medical marijuana legislation, and voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., will decide whether to legalize pot for recreational purposes. Two Maine cities are also voting on full-scale legalization, and two New Mexico counties are mulling decriminalization.
“This is just the beginning of a very big day,” Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, told HuffPost. “People all across the world are ready to move beyond failed prohibition laws, especially when seriously ill patients are criminalized just for following their doctors’ recommendations.”
Though the Guam initiative originally faced legal hurdles, the self-governing territory’s Supreme Court ultimately pushed it through to the ballot in September. A government commission will establish the program’s specific rules and regulations in the coming months.