The general election is just a month away, with presidential debates (so to speak) ringing in our ears. We’ve been tracking the voter-supported efforts to legalize cannabis in more states, and so far one thing has become clear: If you want change, you’re all going to have to fight a lot harder than this!
Two-thirds of Americans approve legal pot
Let’s get this out of the way up front: Pew Research has consistently polled the issue of marijuana legalization throughout the years 1969 to the present. Support for full legalization has grown to 67% as of 2019. Furthermore, 91% of all adults polled by Pew support allowing marijuana for medical or recreational. This is different from the two-thirds figure, because legalizing for medical still keeps it restricted for recreational. Only 8% support having marijuana be illegal in all circumstances.
You would suppose that a 9/10ths popular majority would kind of force the issue. Say what you will about voter apathy, but when pot’s on the ballot, the voters show up for that one. The trick is to keep pot on the ballot, as we will show. Support for legalizing unites across all parties and demographics. Let’s keep that in mind.
Nebraska and Oklahoma measures stricken down by state supreme courts
Despite grassroots efforts in Nebraska and Oklahoma, recreational legalization of marijuana in both states have been removed from the ballot after the fact on flimsy technicalities.
First, the ambitious Nebraska petition drive collected over 100K signatures in one month, during a pandemic. Yet “a law firm representing unnamed state residents” challenged the measure. Since then, Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a challenge to the secretary of state, claiming the proposal didn’t abide by a single-subject format for ballot initiatives and “would confuse voters.” The Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment was then struck down by Nebraska’s state supreme court.
You know what I find “confusing“? I find it confusing that 100K signatures from voters (in a state with barely 2 million population) are going to be ignored because of a sheriff and a few old poops on the supreme court. When 5% of your state’s population is invested enough to marshal this kind of effort, that’s a serious voting block there. Not to mention that this nice woman, braving the pandemic, volunteered her time for nothing:
The spirit of democracy would dictate that any measure with 5% approval at least gets a chance to hear the voter’s say, no matter what anybody else thinks. Nebraska activists are back at it for 2022, and need we point out, this is just for medical marijuana.
Meanwhile in Oklahoma, the supreme court there also struck down the ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. The wording here is even more vague; State Question 813 was stricken down “because it failed to alert potential individuals signing it about changes being made to the law or provide them with sufficient information to make an informed decision about the constitutional amendment.”
The challenge was brought before the Oklahoma supreme court by Paul Tay. Who is Paul Tay? We’re kind of confused about that. He has run for office extensively according to BallotPedia, for mayor of Tulsa, US Senate, and Tulsa City Council, but has yet to hold office if I’m reading it right. We also found this and this… which we are linking without comment. But he sure doesn’t seem to speak for all of Oklahoma.
Currently five states have major legalization measures on the ballot for 2020
Those states are:
- Arizona – Prop 207, Marijuana Legalization Initiative
- Mississippi – Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A, Medical Marijuana Amendment
- Montana – CI-118 & I-190, Allow for a Legal Age for Marijuana Amendment & Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative
- New Jersey – Public Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Amendment
- South Dakota – Constitutional Amendment A & Initiated Measure 26, Marijuana Legalization Initiative & Medical Marijuana Initiative
In addition, Oregon, already legalized for recreation and medical cannabis, is voting on whether to decriminalize all drugs. We’ll see where that goes, but it’s not impossible. Don’t look now, but Ann Arbor, Michigan, just legalized psychedelic mushrooms. It’s still illegal on the state and federal, but as far as the city cops are concerned, you do you!
We can’t wait to open our sister site “TripConnection,” but let’s not get sidetracked.
Ballotpedia shows many more measures on the polls in 2022, which looks like it could be a big year for cannabis.
The big story for cannabis is in US petitions
Granted, petitions are a dime a dozen and don’t get much done unless they’re official. But Change.org has dozens of trending petitions on the subject of marijuana legalization. Here’s a few:
- Federal full legalization – 13.8K supporters
- Federal decriminalization – 864 supporters
- Legalized medical use for veterans – 153.6K supporters
- Legalized medical use nationwide – 33.8K supporters
- Federal support of state cannabis laws – 912 supporters
- Demand for Senator Mitch McConnell to allow the MORE Act to vote so it can pass – 31.9K supporters
Here yet again – the MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act) proposes to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances List, and enact criminal and social justice reform to expunge prior convictions. The MORE Act already passed a House Judiciary Committee, is approved by a 59% majority in polls, and is supported by 53% of Republicans, McConnell’s own party. But nope, once again, one man stands in the way of the democratic say of an entire nation.
That’s just from Change.org. All over the nation, all over public discourse, it’s the same story. We have an overwhelming majority in favor of making marijuana as legal as beer, full stop, and a mandate majority to at least legalize for medical. So why isn’t it done yet???
Readers, tell us of your grassroots efforts!
For once, let’s hear from this 91% that supports legalizing. What’s the cannabis-approval climate in your home state, how can other citizens help, and do you have any petitions or activism causes to share? Post it here and in the legalization category on our forum!