http://www.rednova.com/news/display/?id=100162 With Montana's approval of a medical marijuana initiative, nearly three-fourths of Western states now have such laws - while only two of the 37 states outside the West have adopted them. Why is the West so much more receptive to the idea? From a procedural standpoint, it's just easier to get pot issues on Western ballots because most states in the region allow such initiatives. Nationwide, just 24 states allow citizens to put issues on the ballot by petition, bypassing the Legislature. Eleven of those states are in the West. But activists and political scientists also say Westerners are less willing than other Americans to tell their neighbors what they can and can't do. And historically, Western states tend to be in front on social trends. "I would guess many of the people that voted for it probably don't use marijuana, but they don't want to say their neighbors can't," said Steven Stehr, political science professor at Washington State University. "Westerners have a stronger belief in kind of individualism in the old-fashioned frontier sense," said Sven Steinmo, a University of Colorado political scientist and board member for the Center of the American West. The population also is newer than the rest of the country and states don't have deeply ingrained traditions, said David Olson, political scientist at the University of Washington.