HIGH TIMES

Porn and Pot Win Big in Trumpocalypse

California rejects mandatory condoms for porn actors while a host of states legalize marijuana use—and two blue states vote in tough gun-control measures.

11.09.16 12:44 PM ET

To understand America’s new priorities, one needs only look at the initiatives on the November ballot. Nine states voted on legalizing marijuana, only four tackled gun control. Three states reinstated or reinforced the death penalty and only one state voted on measures to punish polluters. California voted to support its porn stars and against banning plastic bags. There were initiatives to raise taxes, to rework electoral processes, and to cap drug prices.

California Condoms

According to early results, Californians are set to support the adult-porn industry by rejecting a proposition that would have required its actors to wear condoms in all sex scenes. Proposition 60, which included potential fines of as much as $70,000 for adult-entertainment actors who refused to comply, was opposed by the adult-entertainment industry, which battled against health and safe-sex advocates. With most precincts in by this writing, the measure looked set for defeat by at least a 10 percentage-point margin.

Guns

Trump may have promised to keep guns in the hands of Americans, but several blue states had key wins on gun-control laws.

California stood up to the National Rifle Association lobby and voted not only to make illegal the possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds; it also voted to require background checks for anyone buying bullets and to extend police powers when it comes to removing firearms from owners if they have been convicted of a felony. California’s lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a very important initiative because I think it’s the beginning of a national debate on relinquishment [by felons] and ammunition background checks that I think will have a very significant impact on reducing gun violence in this country.”

Voters in Washington state also moved overwhelmingly to support a measure that will allow authorities to request a court order on behalf of families in “crisis” to temporarily remove guns from people they deem as a threat. The measure, which was also fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association, will be one of the most restrictive gun laws in America. But it still has detractors. “There is a concern that this kind of legislation is open to abuse by people who make a complaint in a divorce case or ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, that sort of thing,” Dave Workman with the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Federation told KIRO 7 in Seattle. “I think we have to be sensitive to that.”

Marijuana madness

Perhaps the biggest winner in Tuesday’s election—beyond Trump himself—was the weed lobby. Marijuana measures were on ballots in nine states, following a precedent set in 2012 when Colorado and Washington become the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

In most contests, pot prevailed. California, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted to legalize recreational marijuana for people over 21, though, like alcohol, it is still illegal to consume it in open spaces. Arizona narrowly defeated a similar measure, choosing instead to restrict marijuana to prescription use for medical purposes.

Voters in North Dakota, Florida, and Arkansas elected to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes, essentially paving the way for future votes to extend those rights to recreational use.

Still, a new administration could clamp down on reefer madness if the government decides to use federal powers to “trump” state regulations. “The prospect of Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie as attorney general does not bode well," Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann told The Washington Post “There are various ways in which a hostile White House could trip things up.”

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Death Penalty

Three states voted on death-penalty measures. In Oklahoma, which has the dubious title of the most executions per capita, voters chose to protect the right to kill heinous criminals by adding a clause to their constitution that states that any method of execution “shall not be deemed to be, or to constitute, the infliction of cruel or unusual punishments.”

In Nebraska, voters handily supported a measure to repeal the 2015 ban on the death penalty, effectively reinstating it for the 10 people on that state’s death row.

Votes were still being counted Wednesday morning in California, where voters were leaning toward approving a measure to speed up the appellate process on death-penalty cases, even assisting in legal aid for those on death row so their cases can be processed faster and their executions carried out in a more timely fashion.

Carbon Taxes, Plastic Bags, Right to Die, Maine’s Rank Future

In other ballot contests, Californians voted to reject a ban on the use of plastic bags and Washington state vetoed the nation’s first proposed measure to levy a carbon tax on heavy polluters.

Colorado, meanwhile, joined five other states by approving an assisted-suicide measure for terminally ill patients. And Maine voted to rewrite its electoral process by allowing voters to rank future ballot candidates in order of preference.

The verdict is still out on two of California’s 17 ballot initiatives. Proposition 61, if passed, would approve a measure to cap drug prices, and another, called Measure M, would raise sales tax by half a cent to raise $860 million a year to enhance public transportation. Both are still too close to call.