Election 2020: Marijuana Legalization on the Ballot
All signs indicate that 2020 could well be a massive year for the legalization of marijuana, with marijuana legalization now on the ballot! Currently, more than fifteen states have prepared to bring forth marijuana measures to the voters next year. Numerous advocates even outline that some are even contemplating full-scale use legalization. On the other hand, other states could direct their efforts on medical marijuana.
Ideally, several of these could be voter initiatives led by citizens where activists gather signatures for purposes of qualifying for a measure for the ballot. Alternatively, others could be distinct referendums that lawmakers could present to the voters.
Nonetheless, it is common knowledge that not all initiated efforts will successfully secure adequate funding. Similarly, not all attempts will effectively establish effective-enough campaign initiatives necessary for collecting enough signatures for qualifying their measures for the consideration of voters on Election Day.
Even so, this has not stopped many lawmakers and activists alike from making significant efforts to put marijuana questions on the election ballot.
Why the Sudden Resurgence?
2020 started with a boom when Illinois began the sale of recreational marijuana, soon after it became the 2nd state within the Midwest region and the 10th USA state county to legalize cannabis.
This is headlines since Illinois is a rather big state (sixth-most populated USA County and second most populated state to legalize marijuana). What’s more, it is also significant headlines considering how they went about legalizing it.
Ideally, Illinois is typically the first state to permit recreational marijuana sales through legislation. This means that the governor and state lawmakers signed off on this, and the fact that otherwise cautious politicians gave the green light on marijuana legalization indicates its mounting political appeal.
Besides Illinois, several other state governments may follow this trend in 2020. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has already pushed for marijuana legalization, which nearly pushed through in 2019.
Unfortunately for him, the deal fell apart in the final stages because of disagreements on how to use the raised tax revenue, not to mention how to aid the individuals affected by the warfare on cannabis use.
Similarly, Michelle Lujan, the governor of New Mexico, has also made marijuana legalization a top priority. Even so, it is quite uncertain of the legislature is willing to support her efforts.
Phil Scott, the governor of Vermont, initially legalized possession of marijuana only, but might now be prepared to legalize marijuana sales. Also, Connecticut and Rhode Island may look to push for legalization through their laws.
Many of the states where marijuana is legal, nonetheless, have succeeded by using ballot initiatives, a trend that many other states could look to adopt. Essentially, Recreational marijuana legalization may end up on the 2020 ballot several states like Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Jersey, Montana, Missouri, Idaho, Arkansas, Nebraska and, Arizona and a few others, may also join the movement.
Ideally, recreational marijuana legalization may end up on the 2020 ballot, with South Dakota being among the states to go to the vote on medical cannabis, too.
While not every state listed here is guaranteed to be on the ballot, albeit winning a vote, activists are, however, working overtime to see to it.
Independently, Virginia State is expected to decriminalize cannabis, a move that would retain some penalties on marijuana, especially fines, but try to eradicate the threat of getting arrested or imprisonment. In the end, this leaves us with approximately 18 states that stand to revise their marijuana regulations this year.
While some several state laws have legalized marijuana, the federal law still considers marijuana illegal. This has established all manner of hurdles, ranging from baking to taxing to interstate commerce, including in regions where cannabis is allowed by the state law.
Donald Trump, the USA president, has continued to maintain this status quo, actively opposing federal marijuana legalization, but subsequently allowing states to work out the issues within themselves.
As such, it is worth noting that, besides Joe Biden, all higher-polling Democratic presidential candidates support marijuana legalization. This may make a significant difference in urging Congress to leap in, or if, as was the promise by Bernie Sanders, the next USA president takes executive action of pulling back cannabis prohibition.
One main factor typically sustains much of this is the undeniable national popularity of marijuana legalization-considering the recent polls. This is buoying up lawmakers and activists to make much more effort than ever before.
Legalization of Marijuana Is Massively Popular Across the USA
Gallup, in its study, found that around 34 % of adults in the US-supported legalization of marijuana back in 2001. However, by 2019, this number had shot up to approximately 66 %. Besides Gallup, other polls too back the findings.
Pew Research Center, for instance, outlined that around 67% of Americans support marijuana legalization. Also, as it stands, only 32 % of Americans oppose marijuana legalization, which is a substantial decline in number in comparison to figures posted two decades ago.
In their research, Pew sought to understand the type of legalization Americans back, and the findings are quite revealing. Around 59% support both recreational and medical legalization, with 32 % supporting medical legalization only. The remaining portion (8 %) stated they support neither.
In a simpler complex, less than one in ten Americans support the current federal rule on marijuana.
What’s more, Pew also found that a considerable majority (55 %) of the otherwise skeptical Republicans, especially when it comes to drug policy reforms, back pot legalization. In a similar poll, Gallup posted almost identical findings, with 51 % of the Republicans supporting marijuana legalization. Ideally, a vast majority of individuals support the change.
With these findings, it is now easier to understand why the marijuana legalization motion has spread its span to more states besides Illinois, Washington DC, and ten other states. This is in addition to at least one triumph on marijuana legalization during all the four federal elections.
Also, this explains the momentous support of legalization from Democratic presidential candidates. It is also the reason why despite the Trump administration initially pushing for a renewed war on cannabis, has subsequently have adopted a hands-off approach to all states that have legalized it. Lastly, it is the reason why many more states now seem to push towards legalization.
The Marijuana Legalization Supporter vs. Opponent Debate:
Individuals supporting marijuana legalization argue that legalization eradicated perils of cannabis prohibition. This includes the multiple arrests across the USA, the subsequent racial differences behind such arrests, as well as the millions of dollars transferred from the black marijuana market to the numerous drug cartels that subsequently utilize these funds to fund criminal acts across the globe.
According to legalization advocates, all this will overshadow any prospect downsides like increased use of cannabis, which may be a consequence of legalization.
On the other hand, opponents claim that marijuana legalization will create a massive marijuana industry that will market it irresponsibly. The opponents allude to the reality that America has had to deal with, especially with the tobacco and alcohol industries.
These industries, they outline, have established their momentous financial empires to a significant extent on the most massive consumers. As such, more people may end up using cannabis, albeit resulting in severe health impacts.
The resurgent momentum of the cannabis reform movement has effectively steadied since the 2012 cannabis legalization move victory. As Marijuana Policy Project deputy director, Matthew Schweich notes, the next four elections since the initial initiative have been a legalization triumph at the ballot and considering this trend; this upcoming election may deliver yet more successes in a single day-something never witnessed before.
In the end, to understand why marijuana legalization supporters always seem to triumph, check the polls: Americans increasingly and overwhelmingly agree that pot legalization is way overdue!