Tuesday night brought in the biggest electoral victory for marijuana reform since 2012. People in California, Nevada, and Massachusetts accepted recreational marijuana initiatives. In Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota voters have approved medical marijuana initiatives. In Arizona, a similar legalization measure did not gain enough support to pass, having a 52 percent rejection rate.
Reformers were triumphant. “This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. “With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.”
California has been a leader by both supporters and opponents of marijuana reform. California makes up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population. The economic impact of the state could encourage federal authorities to rethink their 10-year probation on the use of marijuana.
“The prospect of Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie as attorney general does not bode well,” the Drug Policy Alliance’s Nadelmann said in an interview. “There are various ways in which a hostile White House could trip things up.”
Nadelmann pointed to the success of marijuana measures during an evident Republican wave as a sign that support for legalization now cuts deeply across party lines. And quoting Trump’s often contradictory statements on marijuana and drug use in the past, Nadelmann added that “Donald Trump personally could probably go any which way on this.”
Legal marijuana is also making its way into the Northeast. “Marijuana legalization has arrived on the East Coast,” said Tom Angell of the marijuana reform group Marijuana Majority in an email. “What Colorado and other states have already done is generating revenue, creating jobs and reducing crime, so it’s not surprising that voters in more places are eager to end prohibition.”
Opponents of lega
legalization said they were disappointed by the outcomes. “We were outspent greatly in both California and Massachusetts, so this loss is disappointing, but not wholly unexpected,” said Kevin Sabet of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana in a statement. “Despite having gained considerable ground in the last few weeks, the out-of-state interests determined to make money off of legalization put in too much money to overcome.”
In Florida and North Dakota, the votes on medical marijuana were decisive. Florida’s Amendment 2 passed with 71 percent support. In North Dakota, the AP shows 64 percent of voters approving of the medical marijuana measure.
“This is a major tipping point,” said Tom Angell of Florida’s vote. “With Florida’s decision, a majority of states in the U.S. now have laws allowing patients to find relief with medical marijuana, and these protections and programs are no longer concentrated in certain regions of the country like the West and Northeast.”
The victory in North Dakota was surprising as no polling was done on the measure before the vote. As well, the medical marijuana measure will allow doctors in North Dakota to recommend pot for several severe medical conditions.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 25 other states and the District and with the passage of Amendment 2, Florida will become the first Southern state to pass a robust medical marijuana regime. “Better late than never,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the drug reform group Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. “Most states outside the South already have legal medical marijuana, but the overwhelming victory today in Florida is likely to accelerate the momentum for reform throughout the region.”
MAPH Enterprises, LLC | (305) 414-0128 | 1501 Venera Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146 | firstname.lastname@example.org