Come November 8th, some Americans aren’t voting only for the next president of the USA. Five states are calling their citizens to ballot whether to legalize marijuana on their territory or not.
California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Maine are the states where the question will be asked. Should the vote be in favor, they would join Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, in the country-wide movement to legalize marijuana.
Pew Research Center has recently conducted a poll, concluding that 57% adult Americans are in favor of legalizing recreational use of the plant. Only 37% of the people questioned were opposed. The numbers see a reversal from 2006. A decade ago, Americans were more vehemently opposed to even decriminalization, but a high percentage (no pun intended) that were in favor had already existed.
The change of trend is attributed to the growing up of the so-called Millennial population. Also known as Generation Y, Millennials contain a dominant 71% adults that would vote for the pot to be legal.
But the change of law may find supporters even among those belonging to Generation X, and even the post-World War II Baby Boomers. Only Americans older than 70 have a higher percentage of citizens that are against legalization, with only 33% being for it (itself, not a negligible number).
On the same day, four states will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes or not. These states are Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota.
California was the first state to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana in 1996. Washington, Oregon, and Alaska would follow its example in 1998. Therefore, it’s a bit surprising that California didn’t vote for recreational use sooner.
If the law does pass in the Sunny State, then recreational cannabis would be accessible to the most populated state in America. This could prove as essential for convincing the federal government to apply the same law, should a more demanding nation-wide movement begin following a positive vote.
Maine is an even more interesting case, as recreational use has been already legalized in two of its cities. In 2013, Portland legalized possession of 2.5 ounces within city limits, while the municipality of South Portland followed in 2014.
For some, legalization of recreational use comes a natural step, considering it way less dangerous than alcohol. Legalization is also viewed as a success for capitalism, allowing the growth of a new multimillion-dollar industry. There are, however, others who have shown concern that too little is discussed about the dangers of marijuana use.
Image source: Flickr