A lot of north Americans will get high on last night’s vote – not because they are celebrating the re-election of Barack Obama as president, but following the legalisation of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. In defiance of federal law, they have now become the first US states to legalise the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use. Although Oregon voters rejected the amendment, it’s a ground-breaking move which will change the tone of the debate on international drugs policy, test the balance of power between US states and the Federal Government, and affect Mexican security.
Medical-use cannabis is already legal in several US states. What makes Amendment 64 significant is that it would remove the prohibition on the commercial production of cannabis. In Colorado, pot can now in theory be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system similar to alcohol sales. Personal possession of up to 28 grams (1 oz) will be legal for anyone at least 21 years old.
To get a bead on what this might mean, this is further than Netherlands has gone. There, contrary to common perception, it is only the retail sale of 5 grams that is legal. Production and wholesale remains illegal, and the law is vigorously enforced. That is why the price of pot in Amsterdam “coffee shops” is “little different than the price in US dispensaries,” as the authors of “Marijuana legalisation: what everyone needs to know”, argue here.
Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 as voters have re-elected Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. The Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate, while the Republicans will hold the house. Follow all the action with Shannon Bond, Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST).
02.20: As the celebrations continue in Chicago, we leave you with these closing thoughts.
The President came into tonight’s election a damaged political figure with victory far from certain. He won with help of a unmatched grass-roots campaign and his direct appeal to a broad cross-section of America’s ever-changing demographics. He won’t enter his second-term in office with the same momentum in his sails but that’s not to say his challenges are any less daunting.
Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US election in which voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As polls are closing across the country, we’re also tracking key Congressional races.
Follow all the action with Arash Massoudi, Anjli Raval and Shannon Bond in New York (All times EST)
23.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.
22.56: The AP has called North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, for Mr Romney. That puts his total at 186, against Mr Obama’s 148.
Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As millions of Americans continue to head to polling sites around the country, some results will begin to trickle in shortly. By Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST)
19.58: Continue to follow our election live blog here.
19.55: Early signs from exit polls taken in battleground states do not bode well for Mr Romney, says Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker.
@RyanLizza: “Lots of reasons not to trust the exits, but so far they show good news for Obama and bad news for Romney.”
Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As millions of Americans continue to head to polling sites around the country, some results will begin to trickle in shortly.
By Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST)
19.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.
18.55: How will markets react tomorrow? Michael Mackenzie, FT’s US markets editor, says bond traders believe Treasury yields are likely to fall if President Obama is re-elected as attention will focus on gridlock and the “fiscal cliff”.
“Traders think a Romney win would push the benchmark yield higher as the risk of a fiscal accident is reduced. For equities, the consensus view is that a relief rally beckons once the election result is finalised, with a Romney win pushing stocks even higher.”
Welcome to the final round up of media coverage of the US presidential election campaign, as Americans go to the polls. You can see a live blog of the unfolding events elsewhere on FT.com, but here we review the last moments of seemingly endless months of punditry and prognostication about what might happen today. Tomorrow, it is to be hoped, the headlines will be about what actually has happened.
We start with a look at how the media have covered the crazed deadline hours of campaigning, as the candidates hurtle around swing states trying to energise voters to support them.
By Gideon Rachman
Over the past few weeks, I have amused myself by betting friends that Mitt Romney will be elected president. The fun is in the shocked reaction from American liberals – and virtually all Europeans – who find the very thought of a Republican victory utterly horrifying. Even suggesting that a Romney presidency might be tolerable feels like telling Roman citizens that Alaric the Visigoth has been unfairly traduced
The final stretch: Barack Obama presses the flesh at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday (AP)
Welcome to the penultimate summary of media coverage of the 2012 US election campaign on a day when geography means nothing and psephology everything as the candidates make their final push for the few, surely very few, remaining undecided voters.
The polls on this last day of campaigning suggest President Barack Obama has a slight edge in the states he needs to hold – Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada – to keep the White House, but his opponent Mitt Romney is easily close enough for polls to be wrong and an upset to be possible.
RealClearPolitics.com shows “Obama (D)” ahead of “Romney (R)” by a sliver – half of a percentage point. Five national polls on Sunday gave the following margins: Obama +3; Obama +1; Obama +1; Tie; Tie. The possibility, last seen in 2000, of the victor losing the popular vote but winning in the electoral college, remains open.
Welcome to a summary of US election coverage of a day when President Barack Obama had the luxury of dominating television screens without having to pay an extra cent in advertising, while his opponent Mitt Romney was forced into an uncomfortable position in the wings of a great drama.
In the Financial Times, Alan Rappeport reports from Atlantic City that Mr Obama’s position as incumbent gave him the opportunity not only to be pictured coming to the aid of a storm-battered New Jersey, but also inspecting damage alongside the state’s governor, Chris Christie, who has been one of Mr Romney’s main surrogates in attacking the president.
Welcome to a summary of US election coverage on a day when the advantages of incumbency will surely continue to work on behalf of President Barack Obama.
His role in supervising the clear-up of damage caused by the biggest storm to hit the eastern US in 75 years puts the president in centre shot of news footage that for at least the next 24 hours will be broadcast into every home of the US, airtime that could not be bought.
Latest polls show the presidential race is still being fought on the thinnest margins in states that have either been dealt glancing blows by Sandy – Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, – or know only too well what it is like to be mangled by the forces of nature – hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Iowa.