Marijuana is already legal for any use in four states and the District of Columbia, but that list could grow in November. By a lot.
Voters in at least five states, likely more, will decide on Election Day whether they want to make cannabis legal where they live. The stakes couldn’t be higher: A huge chunk of the U.S. population is up for grabs, and a big win on Nov. 8 could lead to the end of prohibition everywhere else.
Here, then, are the states where legalization will be on the ballot. Watch for others to join the list soon.
Legal pot made the ballot in Nevada last November, a fact that suggests voters are primed to reform their outdated cannabis laws. The state is a perfect fit for retail marijuana, with its “Sin City” image, its massive entertainment industry, and its staunch libertarian leanings.
Voters in Maine are also certain to settle the legalization question in the fall. The issue is already slated to appear on the ballot, and the state’s liberal politics make it a good bet. Roughly 55 percent of voters back the idea, while 41 percent oppose it, according to a poll in May by the Marijuana Policy Project. If reform wins out here, Maine would be the first state to bring legal pot to the East Coast (along with Massachusetts, possibly).
No turf matters to potheads and their lobbyists quite as much as the Golden State. It’s the most populous state in the country, and it would easily constitute the world’s largest market for legal cannabis. A victory here would also make it very hard for the rest of the country to keep reform at bay for much longer. Public support is very strong, and the leading legalization measure was cleared for the ballot in early July.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act would allow adults over 21 to buy, possess, and use up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six pot plants at home. It also would create taxes and regulations for a newly legal recreational cannabis industry.
Strangely enough, Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the country, may be the place where reformers run into the most opposition this year. Legalization has been cleared for the ballot, but polls show voters are split on the idea, with neither side yet claiming a majority of support. The most recent survey found 43 percent of Bay State voters want to legalize while another 46 percent do not. An unusually large 13 percent said they hadn’t decided.
Arizona has long been a reliably conservative state, but that’s changing, fast. Legalization is already guaranteed a spot on the November ballot, but it will be a tough fight. A recent poll found nearly half of voters oppose the idea while just 43 percent support it. With just 8 percent undecided, the measure would likely fail if the election were held today, but this year’s ugly presidential race could draw a much larger-than-usual contingent of liberal young voters, the type who are most likely to support both Democrats and legal grass.
Tell us what you think: Which of these five states will legalize marijuana in November? Do you live in one of them?