This election was considered by many to be one of the most important in decades – if not one of the most important ever. There is a lot on the table, from healthcare to taxes to criminal law reform. Candidate President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are both sitting at the other end of the table.
One issue that has been controversial for years is the legalization of marijuana. In many states of the country it is already legal to a certain extent, whether for medical purposes or for recreational use. But in November this year, five more states will vote on its status.
In 2019, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) was introduced in the Senate by Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, but is still waiting for action. According to a recent poll conducted by Data for Progress, 60 percent of Republicans support the proposal.
The proposal would decriminalize marijuana, remove it from the list of controlled substances and allow certain marijuana offences to be removed from a person’s file. In addition, the MORE law would create a trust fund from a national tax on marijuana, with money given to communities affected by the war on drugs, Washington Newsday reported earlier.
A 2019 study conducted by Pew Research found that only 8 percent of U.S. adults want to keep marijuana illegal under all circumstances. The same study also found that about 9 out of 10 Americans support legalization for medical or recreational purposes.
However, legalization is being pushed back at the national level, so states must make the decision at a more local level. This year, voters in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi will have the chance to become part of an ever-expanding list of states that have legalized the drug.
Arizona first tried to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 2002 with Proposition 203, but failed with only 42.7 percent of the vote, according to Forbes. It was passed in 2010, but the goal this year is to legalize the cannabis trade in adult cannabis. This time the support is expected to be higher than in previous years.
In the same year, medical cannabis was legalized in Arizona, and it was also approved in New Jersey. This year voters in New Jersey will vote to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for those over the age of 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana at retail, BallotPedia said.
Although many states have already introduced some form of cannabis legalization, South Dakota is not among them. This year’s ballot includes an amendment to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and require South Dakota state legislature to enact laws by April 1, 2022, that provide for the use of medicinal marijuana and the sale of hemp, BallotPedia said.
In Mississippi, medical marijuana is also on the ballot, although supporters are concerned that the wording could confuse voters, according to Marijuana Moment. Initiative 65A and Initiative 65 are initiatives that both support legalization, but with different guidelines. Initiative 65 would allow medical marijuana treatment under more than 20 specified conditions, allow individuals to own up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time and tax marijuana sales at the current state sales tax rate of 7 percent, BallotPedia said. Meanwhile, Initiative 65A would restrict marijuana smoking to terminally ill patients, require pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products and monitoring of treatment by licensed physicians, nurses and pharmacists, and allow tax rates, ownership limits and certain other details to be set by the legislature, BallotPedia said.
Medical marijuana was first legalized in Montana in 2004. This year, voters will have the opportunity to vote on Initiative 190, which would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, impose a 20 percent tax on marijuana sales, require the Department of the Treasury to develop rules to regulate marijuana transactions, and allow for the re-sentencing or eradication of marijuana-related crimes, BallotPedia said.
In addition to government officials, each state will have a variety of election items for the A