Recent polls show that a solid two-thirds of all Americans support cannabis reform, regardless of political leanings, and last night's election proved that the polls were accurate. Voters in New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana approved adult-use legalization last night, while South Dakota became the first state to legalize both medical and adult-use pot at the same time. Mississippi also voted to legalize medical marijuana.
Early polls suggested that around 70 percent of New Jersey residents would say yes to legal weed this year, and these predictions proved to be entirely accurate. Over 1,725,000 votes for legal weed have been tallied so far – around 67 percent of all currently counted votes. Lawmakers are now tasked with drawing up bills to implement the regulation of an adult-use retail market and to end all existing weed-related criminal cases.
For the first time in 24 years, Arizona has been declared as a victory for the Democrats. There is still a chance that Joe Biden's slim lead in the state could disappear once every vote is counted, but the results of the state's cannabis campaign are more certain. The adult-use measure has already gathered enough votes to pass, with nearly 60 percent support among the votes that have already been counted.
South Dakota and Montana retained their reputations as red states this year, delivering modest majority wins for Republicans. But even so, both of these states voted to legalize weed, proving that there’s strong bipartisan support for cannabis reform. Montana officials report that around 57 percent of voters approved two separate measures to legalize cannabis and to set the legal age for pot use at age 21 or older. South Dakota voters also approved two different weed measures, with over 69 percent voting yes on medical marijuana and a slim 53 percent voting yes on adult-use.
“These results once again illustrate that support for legalization extends across geographic and demographic lines,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “The public has spoken loudly and clearly. They favor ending the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a policy of legalization, regulation, taxation, and public education. Elected officials — at both the state and federal level — ought to be listening.”
In Mississippi, voters were presented with a hard choice between a comprehensive medical marijuana amendment created by local activist groups and a more restrictive measure proposed by politicians. Despite strong opposition from state Governor Tate Reeves and the American Medical Association, nearly three-quarters of Mississippi voters approved the more progressive measure.
America's push for drug reform in 2020 did not stop with cannabis, though. It's looking likely that Washington DC will pass a measure to decriminalize natural psychedelics like psilocybin, peyote, and ayahuasca. Fewer than 40 percent of the city's ballots have been counted at the time of this writing, but of those, nearly 77 percent were cast in favor of psychedelic reform. Activists are confident that the measure will pass, but the federal government still has the authority to block this measure from actually taking effect.
And in Oregon, where adult-use weed has been legal for years, voters approved two new comprehensive reform measures. Nearly 56 percent of voters approved a measure to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy. While this is undoubtedly a historic moment for our country, Measure 109 only makes mushrooms legal for mental health clinicians and not the general public. Thankfully, 59 percent of Oregonians also approved a measure to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs. Under the decriminalization measure, the penalty for possessing literally any drug in Oregon will be reduced to a $100 fine. This measure also redirects legal weed tax revenue to help fund drug treatment and rehabilitation services.