Data published recently by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) — and sourced from a variety of organizations — shows recreational marijuana ballot initiatives are trending favorably among voters in most states.
In every state where recreational marijuana is on the ballot this November, the Washington Post’s marijuana policy reporter, Christopher Ingraham, notes, “[m]arijuana legalization is leading.” This isn’t a surprise considering the legal marijuana industry has been growing substantially, becoming one of the fastest burgeoning industries in America.
According to the poll, 50 percent of respondents in Arizona view recreational marijuana legalization favorably, while 60 percent in California do. Fifty-three percent of voters in Maine and Massachusetts and about 57 percent in Nevada also agree that legalizing recreational pot in their states would be a positive development.
Data compiled in the NORML report was drawn from several different sources, such as the Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll, The Public Policy Institute of California’s September 2016 survey, the Portland Press Herald, Suffolk University, and WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, and UMass Amherst.
According to NORML, out of the “13 … ballot initiatives [hoping] to either legalize adult marijuana use or to legalize the use of medical marijuana for qualifying medical conditions,” ten have qualified for the November 2016 electoral ballot. If all initiatives pass by popular vote, the country could “double the number of states that allow the recreational use of marijuana and could potentially expand the therapeutic benefits of marijuana use to millions of Americans.”
Currently, marijuana is legal in some form in 25 states, along with the District of Columbia, yet the rate of pot arrests for possession is still high.
According to the FBI, 574,641 marijuana-related arrests were registered in 2015, adding up to over 1,500 possession arrests per day.
In a 2013 report, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimated that law enforcement’s targeting of marijuana possession in the United States costs taxpayers $3.6 billion each year, “yet the War on Marijuana [sic] has failed to diminish the use or availability of marijuana.”
By Alice Salles