The 2016 Ballot
In November, will you be dropping a dab or a ballot? Hopefully, you’re doing both. Fifty-eight percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to a 2015 Gallup Poll. That means that 2016 could be the year that cannabis leaves the shadows and shines in the spotlight. Twenty states are looking to pass cannabis laws and, even more importantly, cannabis is on the national stage.
Get educated to use your vote to make a difference.
THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
A vote for Hillary is a puff for cannabis. She’s expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and has promoted the idea of more research on its benefits.
“I absolutely support all the states that are moving toward medical marijuana, moving toward—absolutely—legalizing it for recreational use. Let’s take it off the what’s called Schedule I and put it on a lower schedule so that we can actually do research about it.”
-Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, March 2016
Sen. Sanders is feeling the burn for bud. In November 2015, he stated that he would remove marijuana from the federal drug schedules and ensure states would be allowed to regulate cannabis similarly to alcohol. His plan would allow marijuana businesses to access banking services and apply for standard tax deductions.
“In the year 2015, it is time for the federal government to allow states to go forward as they best choose. It is time to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. It is time to end arrests of so many people and the destruction of so many lives for possessing marijuana.”
-Sen. Sanders, National Student Town Hall at George Mason University, October 2015
Maybe being high would make it easier to know what a vote for Trump would mean. In 1990, Trump said he favored legalizing all drugs. However, he has regularly waffled on his stance but has most recently claimed a “hands-off” approach to state cannabis laws.
“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”
-Donald Trump, The Washington Post, October 2015
State-by-State Cannabis Laws
Even if Bernie gets the vote, it could take a while to legalize nationally. Unsurprisingly, there are 20 states hoping to have cannabis initiatives on the ballot: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Not every state is likely to succeed, but these are the states with the best chances:
Arizona: A campaign by the Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona is looking to legalize the possession and consumption by adults 21 and older. The initiative needs over 150,000 signatures by July 7 to get on the 2016 ballot.
California: Legalization advocates filed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the leading initiative in California. They’ve already garnered $2.25 million in campaign finance donations to help collect signatures.
Florida: Two different groups are working to legalize medical cannabis: Floridians for Freedom and United for Care. Look for both on the 2016 ballot.
Maine: Although some areas of Maine have already legalized medical cannabis, the new Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative seeks to allow all adults 21 and older to possess up to two-and-a-half ounces.
Massachusetts: The state is looking to legalize marijuana in 2016 with the Massachusetts Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Initiative, which would enable cannabis to be regulated like alcohol.
Michigan: The Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative would allow recreational marijuana use for adults age 21 and over. It will need 250,000 registered voter signatures to earn a spot on the 2016 ballot.
Missouri: The New Approach Missouri group filed a petition to legalize medical cannabis, but 160,00 signatures are needed to get on the ballot.
Nevada: The Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative is already on the 2016 ballot. It would regulate cannabis like alcohol and allow possession and sale for recreational use.
Rhode Island: The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act would legalize cannabis entirely and is likely to make it onto the 2016 ballot with 55 percent of the state already in support.
Vermont: Vermont is close to legalized cannabis with S.241. The bill to regulate marijuana has already been passed by the Senate and is heading to the House.
What would legal cannabis look like throughout the country? To get an idea, take a look at Colorado and Washington.
In its first year, Colorado brought in $63 million in cannabis taxes from the $700 million industry
Marijuana possession arrests have dropped 84 percent in Colorado since legalization
Traffic fatalities in Colorado went down 3 percent
Violent crime in Denver went down by 2.2 percent in 2014
Filings for low-level marijuana offenses are down 98 percent in Washington
Violent crime rates have decreased in Washington while other crime rates have remained stable
Washington has collected nearly $83 million in cannabis tax revenue
Youth marijuana use has not increased in Washington[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][/vc_column][/vc_row]