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  • When America voted in 2020,

  • there was one issue both Republicans and Democrats could agree on:

  • "An overwhelming majority of voters said yes to the legalization of marijuana."

  • "Montana voters gave their clear backing to marijuana."

  • "Arizona, South Dakota..."

  • "You could say a lot of New Jersey voters are high tonight."

  • New Jersey arrests around 30,000 people a year for marijuana possession,

  • more than almost any other state.

  • But this year they voted to legalize marijuana.

  • Arizona voted to legalize it, too.

  • So did Montana.

  • So did South Dakota.

  • Medical marijuana was passed in Mississippi.

  • Now one in three Americans live in a state where access to marijuana has been legalized.

  • Oregon took it even further and decriminalized possession of all drugs on Election Day.

  • Over decades, America's war on drugs has put millions of people in prison.

  • And today it's widely understood to have disproportionately affected people of color.

  • For example, Black Americans use marijuana at the same rates as White Americans,

  • but are arrested for it at a much higher rate.

  • This map shows that more and more Americans are starting to turn

  • against the country's harsh drug laws.

  • But ending them entirely will be a lot more complicated.

  • Americans used to be almost unanimously against legalizing marijuana.

  • Today, two out of three Americans support it.

  • But politicians, not so much.

  • There's a lag, between public embrace of issues, particularly cannabis policy,

  • and state legislators, or even members of Congress.

  • John Hudak is a policy researcher who writes about America's marijuana policies.

  • And he says the gap between how politicians and the public feel about marijuana,

  • has a lot to do with what kind of political issue it is:

  • Most Americans don't use cannabis.

  • Most Americans have never been arrested for a cannabis-related offense, etc.

  • So it ends up not being something

  • that they are going to hold elected officials accountable for.

  • Americans usually choose who they vote for

  • because of issues like the economy, or health care.

  • Issues like marijuana are pretty far down the list of priorities.

  • But when you ask them directly, Hey, do you want marijuana legalized? They'll say yes.

  • And that's why almost all of these states have legalized marijuana in a very similar way:

  • Instead of the state legislature passing a comprehensive, detailed law,

  • it was put directly to the people on Election Day, as a question on the ballot.

  • We have used ballot initiatives as a campaign and advocacy tool for decades.

  • Lindsay LaSalle is a drug policy strategist,

  • and she's worked on a lot of these state ballot initiatives.

  • The legislature is often afraid to act.

  • But one problem with changing laws this way, with a simple ballot initiative,

  • is that the state still has to figure out the details.

  • And that isn't always easy.

  • For example, in New Jersey, no one really knows what's going to happen

  • to all the people who are incarcerated, or have arrest records,

  • for something that's now legal.

  • The other challenge for these laws is that they create a gap with the federal government.

  • Even though it's legal in several states, at the federal level marijuana is still classified

  • as one of the most serious drugsequal to heroin and LSD.

  • And that puts federal drug laws in direct conflict with state laws in all sorts of ways.

  • Legal marijuana businesses have a really hard time getting any federally-backed bank

  • to take their money.

  • And they can't sell their product across state lines.

  • So a farm in California can't sell to a store in Nevada,

  • even though it's legal in both states.

  • And because the federal government considers marijuana a controlled substance,

  • scientists researching the effects of it often face problems with funding and testing.

  • But as more people in more states choose to legalize marijuana,

  • this gap is going to become unsustainable.

  • Having the more conservative states, like South Dakota and Montana and Arizona, passing it,

  • means that people have to consider it at the federal level in a much more robust way.

  • We've seen something similar happen before.

  • At first, same-sex marriage only became legal in the US state by state.

  • But by 2015, 70% of Americans lived in states that had legal same-sex marriage.

  • That same year, it became legal throughout the country.

  • We've transformed, in this country, in the course of about 25 to 30 years,

  • in terms of cannabis legalization being an absolutely toxic and fringe issue,

  • which is what it was,

  • to one now where candidates of both parties are embracing it.

  • Americans' attitudes on the war on drugs, and the mass incarceration it led to, are changing.

  • And more and more of them are ready for those laws to change.

  • But if politicians won't do it, they will.

When America voted in 2020,

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B2 marijuana cannabis legal state federal legalize

Weed was the real winner of the 2020 election

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/11
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