Less than a week before the national elections in the United States, voters are urging for wide marijuana legalization for medical and adult-use.
Heading to Nov. 3, 33 states and the District of Columbia allows medical use, and an addition of four more states are jumping on the recreational use. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota are voting on initiatives to legalize the adult use of cannabis. Mississippi also put an option on the table for physicians to recommend marijuana to patients.
New Jersey is on fire, with adult-use legalization in a landslide. Arizona follows with at least 55 percent of the votes support cannabis legalization, and only 37 percent oppose the idea. Meanwhile, Montana is in good standing, as long as undecided voters shift to the side in favor of recreational use.
The results of the polls don’t come as a surprise, as more Americans believe marijuana use should be legal. A Pew Research Center conducted a study in September and found out that around 67 percent of Americans feel that cannabis should be legal. A huge 91 percent of the respondents said marijuana must be legal for medicinal purposes.
With more and more states flipping to the legal side, it would be a challenge for the federal legislators to condemn what the people want and oppose the idea of legalizing marijuana on a federal level.
Work Around Laws
Since lawmakers are responding for their constituents, the results of the poll mean they must work around laws to prepare for cannabis legalization on a federal level. It’s integral for the lawmakers to establish new regulations in preparation for the federal-wide marijuana adult use.
It was under the House of Representatives to vote for a decriminalization bill in September, but this was delayed until after the election. The MORE Act and similar piece of legislation are put to hold to make way for the coming election. Although this also provides an advantage as Republican senators can find themselves representing constituents in favor of the wide legalization.
So, the question is, how can the upper body respond to the growing demand of people wanting to make cannabis adult-use legal? It’s still a huge question that demands an answer in the coming weeks. Whoever wins will have to arrive at new laws and regulations in case legalization pushes through.
Latest State Polling
Looking at the numbers, it’s safe to say that more people are supportive of the adult use of marijuana in most states. The growing number of states legalizing cannabis contributed to the results, citing additional funding for the local entities and government. Taxes that came from marijuana products can help communities, so it’s basically helping the local economy. If legalization was put to the federal level, then selling of marijuana can be increased, which means taxes will also double or triple in number.
Pennsylvania is already pushing for broad legalization to help communities and businesses who are continuously suffering due to the pandemic. It’s easy to note that people can see marijuana in a good light, knowing the taxes can work for the people. However, others may only be concerned about the implications, in case cannabis will be legal.
Meanwhile, if making more dispensaries mean more jobs and taxes, then the decision isn’t bad at all. The only thing that could work is setting new regulations on the boundaries of adult use, as well as on the side of the sellers.
Around 55% of the Arizona residents voted yes for the legalization of adult-use, and only 37% opposed the idea. In Mississippi, 50% of voters approved recreational use, and half of the respondents opposed it. New Jersey is a bigger player, with 65 percent of residents voting yes to recreational cannabis use and only 29 percent voted no. South Dakota too, backed the legalization, with a whopping 74 percent saying yes to cannabis adult-use, and only 23 percent voted no to the idea.
Montana is following the lead, with 49 percent of voters approving the lead to the legalization and 39 percent disapproved of the proposal. Roughly 12 percent of voters are left undecided, and this could manifest to the legal side after the election. However, there’s also a huge possibility of these undecided voters nearing against the change in order to defeat the ballot measure.
Dire Budget Conditions
As mentioned, the pandemic has caused local and national economies to plummet—something that additional taxes could counter the impact on citizens. In fact, according to Marijuana Policy Project deputy director Matthew Schweich, many supports and pro-legalization ‘were already swayed’ in the idea that marijuana taxes might bring into dire budget conditions.
Schweich said the pandemic situation could increase and strengthen the argument to legalize adult-use for the added budget. With voters being aware of what’s already there and how it’s coming down the road, marijuana revenue sure is part of the solution.
Meanwhile, there are also opponents who believe marijuana taxes are the ‘big reach’ and ‘drop in the bucket.’ More people simply want to decriminalize cannabis, and completely remove it from the list of restricted drugs in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.
Because South Dakota and New Jersey showed the progressive results in the poll, Republican Senate Majority John Thune could represent South Dakota in legalized marijuana. New Jersey’s neighboring states could be persuaded by the landslide results, with governors of Northeastern states convening a summit to harmonize cannabis policies in the region.
Most ballot polls argued a possibility that marijuana legalization will succeed. However, it’s too early to predict, the results are still basic to the positive light on adult-use and decriminalization.
A poll commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce, which opposes the legalization initiatives, found 60 percent of voters are suddenly in favor of marijuana for adults. Roughly 70 percent are also in favor of using cannabis for qualifying patients.
Schweich said there are ‘incremental successes’ in stipulating action on Capitol Hill.