These 8 states will be voting to legalize marijuana in November
Attitudes about marijuana have really changed in recent years, because, well, people like to smoke pot. Case in point: the latest polls by research institutes like Gallup and Pew and news outlets like CBS, Fox, NBC, and the Associated Press show that a decisive majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization, and, unsurprisingly, growing numbers of Americans are using pot for recreational and medical purposes. Remaining true to the democratic model following the will of the people (which doesn’t usually happen), eight states will be voting on marijuana this November, and of those, five states will be voting on full marijuana legalization. So, if your choices for president didn’t have you too excited about the general election ballot, now you have more reason to throw a party.
According to Gallup polling through the years, in 1969, a mere 12 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization. This doubled to roughly 25 percent in 1977, then climbed to 31 percent in 2000, and about one third of voters in 2005. Now, in most polls, this number has increased by 20 percent, and among some demographics and in some states, it’s doubled. And, a path to marijuana legalization was literally included in this year’s Democratic party platform.
The climate has never been better for marijuana legalization, and here are the eight states voting on it.
Florida residents won’t be voting on full marijuana legalization, which includes recreational use, but they will be voting on medical marijuana legalization through Amendment 2. Sure, voting on recreational weed would have been ideal, but medical marijuana will be to the benefit of paralysis, depression, and, yes, even cancer. That’s worth celebrating.
According to The South Florida Business Journal, annual sales of medical marijuana could annually climb to $300 million statewide, and $124 million in the Miami-Dade county alone. The latest statewide poll revealed a supermajority of 68 percent of Florida voters support Amendment 2.
Like Florida, Missouri will be voting on medical marijuana legalization under a ballot initiative titled New Approach Missouri. The latest polls of Missouri voters found 62 percent supported this measure, but it’s worth noting that New Approach Missouri’s writers emphasize “a seed-to-sale tracking system to ensure that the product and money do not reach the illicit market,” according to the NORML foundation. In other words, sorry to disappoint Missouri residents seeking a recreational high, but laws around marijuana would still be pretty strict even if New Approach Missouri passes.
This November, Arkansas will also be voting on medical marijuana legalization, and Arkansas voters should look out for the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act under Issue 7 on the ballot. Medical marijuana legalization should pass in Arkansas by a landslide — according to the latest poll by Public Opinion Strategies which found that 68 percent of voters support it.
The golden state is likely to go green this November, with roughly 60 percent of voters favoring the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Prop 64, according to February polling by Probolsky Research. Prop 64 — endorsed by the ACLU of California, the California Democratic Party, the California Medical Association, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the California NAACP, and the Drug Policy Alliance — will allow adults 21 and over to use marijuana recreationally and possess up to eight grams.
Prop 64 would additionally enable the licensing of commercial cannabis production and retail sales. In other words, all those illicit drug deals you may or may not have participated in are about to become legal and, as a result, probably a lot less illicit.
California was the first state to enact a legal medical marijuana program through Proposition 215 in 1996 and Senate Bill 420 in 2003.
Nevada residents 21 and over could soon legally possess and grow weed for personal use, up to one ounce or six plants to the layman. The latest polling from 2015 shows 56 percent of Nevada voters support the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, and while this isn’t exactly a supermajority, unless attitudes have changed, the initiative will likely win out.
Under the Arizona Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 205, Arizona residents ages 21 and over could legally grow and consume marijuana, but the act would additionally establish the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control “to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana; and [provide] local governments with the authority to regulate and limit marijuana businesses.” However, the latest polling by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy found a slight majority of Arizona voters opposed both recreational and medical marijuana use, spelling trouble for Prop 205 this November.
The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act will appear as Question 4 on Massachusetts’ ballot this November, and while groups like the Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign, which petitioned for the act’s removal, weren’t exactly thrilled, Question 4 stands. The act will allow people to legally grow up to six marijuana plants in enclosed, private spaces. Unlike most of the previously referenced states, which support marijuana legalization in pronounced majorities, marijuana legalization opponents in Massachusetts maintain a slight edge according to the latest polling by The Boston Globe, which shows 51 percent oppose legalization.
That recreational marijuana legalization made the Massachusetts ballot is a strong indicator in itself of progress, but if you live in Massachusetts, try not to get too excited just yet.
Like California, Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Act, represented as Question 1 on the ballot, would not only allow those 21 and over to legally use and possess cannabis, but it would also allow adults to obtain licenses for commercial cannabis production and retail sales. NORML notes that while retail sales of cannabis would be subject to a ten percent sales tax, non-commercial transactions involving medical cannabis would not be taxed. The latest statewide polling from May this year shows a solid majority of 55 percent of Maine voters support marijuana legalization.
So, come November, there could be a few more states enjoying medical or recreational pot.