November 7th, 2012 | City

New legislation sweeps states

Last night, voters across 38 states expressed their opinions on more than 176 pieces of legislation. From the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine and Maryland, Election Day saw sweeping changes in the laws of several states.

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the production, sale and possession of recreational marijuana, and Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana. Under the law in Massachusetts, patients with a doctor’s prescription can get up to 60 days’ worth of recreational marijuana. With half of the precincts reporting, 63 percent of voters in Massachusetts had voted in favor of decriminalizing the drug.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper expressed mixed reactions to the decriminalization of marijuana, noting that the drug’s consumption is still a federal offense.

“Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly,” he said in a statement. Nov. 6 also saw another first: Two states — Maryland and Maine — passed measures to back same-sex marriage.

Proposition 34 in California — which seeks to abolish the death penalty — is falling behind in early returns, as of 1 a.m. EST Wednesday morning. 56.2 percent of voters had voted no to the proposition by Tuesday night, while 43.8 percent of voters had voted yes.