Marijuana prohibition in America could be dealt a big blow in November, with five states voting on legalizing the adult recreational use of cannabis. If current polling trends are any evidence, voters in all five states – Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada -will most likely approve their respective legalization measures. Registered voters in the stat of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have all passed measures to legalize, tax and regulate adult cannabis sales, while voters in the District of Columbia have passed a law that allows adults to grow and possess (but not purchase) marijuana.
But of course, none of those states can match the sheer numbers in California, the largest state in the country. Fifty percent support is a great position for legalization in a state as conservative as Arizona. Originally seen as a long shot, Arizona’s marijuana legalization bill, Proposition 205, is currently hauling in 50 percent support, with only 40 percent who are not in favor of the measure, according to a highly respected Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll released back in the beginning of September. Fifty percent support is a great position for legalization in a state as conservative as Arizona.
Now let’s look at California, a state which beat a marijuana legalization proposal in 2010. An August poll, which did not ask respondents about any particular ballot questions, discovered that over 60 percent of voters are under the impression that “Marijuana should be legal for adults to purchase and use recreationally, with government regulations similar to the regulation of alcohol.” In the face of this, even old-school bastions of conservative thought in the state have changed.
Not only would the entire Pacific coast be made up of states that have legalized marijuana, though, with a population of almost 40 million, California would single-handedly deliver reform to 12 percent of the United States population. Once a part of Massachusetts, the nearby New England state of Maine will join the other states that are voting on marijuana legalization in November as ballot Question 1.
What’s more, if all five bills go through, it could prove to be a catalyst for other states who want to join the club for legalizing cannabis as legislators scramble to have their states join the “Green rush” before it becomes less profitable to do so.
The Holy Grail for marijuana reform supporters, obviously, would be an actual state legislature passing a bill in the upcoming legislative session to legalize marijuana for adults. With only 24 states in the US allowing the referendum process, more than half the country will rely upon their state lawmakers to legalize marijuana one way or another.