Today the nation not only votes on a president but 9 states will also vote on marijuana related measures. One of those states is California, the 6th largest economy in the world. California residents will vote on Proposition 64 which is a measure that would end prohibition in the state and legalize adult recreational marijuana. This move is predicted to be the tipping point that would push many other states and perhaps even countries into ending prohibition. The marijuana election also includes 4 other states that will be voting on recreational marijuana: Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada. Should the states choose to join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. in ending prohibition, a quarter of the country will have legalized marijuana.
The Medical Marijuana Election States
Recreational marijuana is not the only marijuana election that happens today. 4 more states will be voting on whether to legalize medical marijuana. Currently, 25 states have legalized medical marijuana. Now Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and Florida are all in line to vote on whether or not to allow patients in the states to have access to medical cannabis. Florida appears to be the only state that is clearly likely to legalize, while the other states seem to be neck and neck. Prohibitionists have adamantly opposed legalization in the more conservative states and it is still unclear in which direction the vote will go. On the other hand, the recreational marijuana election seems to be clearly favoring legalization. In fact, a recent Gallup poll indicates that 60 percent of the country are in favor of legalization now. That number of states with legal marijuana could rise to 29 in this election.
A Celebratory Mood
Chairman of drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority, Tom Angell, told The Huffington Post, “Nov. 8th is the most important day in the history of the marijuana legalization movement. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Big wins will dramatically accelerate our push to finally end federal marijuana prohibition, perhaps as soon as 2017. But on the other hand, huge losses could interrupt the momentum we’ve been building for the last several years.”
Parties have already been planned across the country. Especially in places such as California and Florida, where polls have significantly favored legalization. Jason Kinney, a spokesperson for Yes on 64 in California said, “We’ve had 18 polls in 12 months. Everyone has shown Proposition 64 leading with a large majority of support, and double-digit margins of support.”
The People’s View vs. The Federal View
Marijuana still remains illegal on a federal level, although the federal government has allowed states to set their own rules. The plant is still considered a Schedule I drug, which categorizes it as one of the most high risk drugs, alongside heroin and LSD, being said to have no medicinal value. Clearly science and the majority of the country disagrees with this and every state that chooses to end prohibition increases the likelihood of this classification to change. The plant has been found to be safer and healthier than alcohol and cigarettes, both short term and long term. With legalization occurring all over the country, the momentum seems to be heading towards the end of prohibition.