Some Key Referenda to Watch

In addition to the presidential and congressional elections tomorrow, there are also some important referenda initiatives on the ballot in many states. They include several on issues of special interest to me and many VC readers: property rights and the War on Drugs.

Here in Virginia, we have Question 1, which would strengthen protection for property rights against eminent domain abuse. For reasons I outlined here and here, Virginia currently has one of the nation’s worst state constitutions on property rights issues. While far from perfect, Question 1 would be a major improvement over the status quo. I hope my fellow Virginians will support it.

Six other states have marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot, including three (Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) that would legalize marijuana entirely, and three others that would only legalize medical marijuana. As I explained here, all of these initiatives are imperfect, but still important improvements over the status quo. Polling data suggests that the Colorado and Washington initiatives have a good chance of passing, and Oregon is not completely out of the question. This is an important opportunity to roll back the War on Drugs in three major states, and I hope the voters will take it.

According to survey data, opposition to drug legalization comes disproportionately from political conservatives. I summarized the conservative case against the War on Drugs here. Conservatives and others may also want to check out the late William F. Buckley’s reasons for opposing it.