Voters in 20 U.S. states could potentially legalize some form of cannabis use in the November 2016 election — part of a historic backlash to the century-old war on marijuana.
According to Ballotpedia, the encyclopedia of American politics, activists have submitted ballot measures for public vote in: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Gallup finds 58 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization for adults. States considered most likely to liberalize cannabis laws at the ballot include Nevada, California, Arizona, while midwestern and southern states are more of a long-shot. Other efforts are purely symbolic. Some states have multiple measures submitted, including anti-pot measures, for a total of 66 pot proposals this election.
This week, California’s leading initiative — the Adult Use of Marijuana Act — declared$2.25 million in campaign finance donations – easily enough to pay signature-gathering, which has begun. Arizona activists are in the middle of raising 230,000 signatures to place legalization on the ballot. Nevada’s initiative is already locked in for a Nov. 8 vote.Florida medical pot legalization returns to the ballot this year, as well.
Action at the ballot box is being met by unprecedented movement in state legislatures, too. On Sunday, 17 New Mexico state senators voted to legalize cannabis during unprecedented hearings on a bill in that state’s legislature. The bill failed 24-17.
Thirty-five U.S. states and Washington D.C. have legalized either medical marijuana, adult-use pot, or the cannabis molecule, cannabidiol.