2016 Is "Biggest Year Ever" for Marijuana Reform, Advocates Say

Marijuana grows at a legal collective in the hills near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., July 11, 2014. Should any of these ballot initiatives pass, they will be the latest in a 20-year run of progressive reforms on this issue. (Photo: Jason Henry / The New York Times)Marijuana grows at a legal collective in the hills near Clearlake Oaks, California, July 11, 2014. Should any of these ballot initiatives pass, they will be the latest in a 20-year run of progressive reforms on this issue. (Photo: Jason Henry / The New York Times)

If the unthinkable occurs and Donald Trump is elected president on November 8, residents of a handful of states may soon be able to legally smoke weed to cope.

Legalization of recreational use of marijuana is on the ballot in five states, and medical marijuana laws are up in another four. In legalization states, it may be a clean sweep: recent polls in Arizona, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all show significant public support for legalization, and there is a wide margin of support in some of these states. Support for medical marijuana is strong in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota, although a ballot question seeking to improve already existing medical marijuana laws in Montana lags in the polls.

This year’s “marijuana election,” as Newsweek described it, comes just four years after Oregon and Colorado became the first states to legalize and regulate cannabis and reflects the US’s growing acceptance of marijuana. These developments have advocates optimistic that, as Mike Ludwig reported in 2014, “the end of America’s marijuana prohibition is finally in sight.”

For more original Truthout election coverage, check out our election section, “Beyond the Sound Bites: Election 2016.”

“The 2016 election may be a tipping point for marijuana reform,” said Morgan Fox, a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project in an interview with Truthout. “This is by far the biggest year we have ever seen on this issue.”

Polling on legalizing marijuana has shown strong support for legalization in Arizona (poll done by Arizona Republic/Morrison/Conkite), Alaska (Ivan Moore), Maine (Portland Press Herald), Massachusetts (WBUR) and Nevada (Suffolk University). *A poll released on the same day (Dittman Research) found conflicting information in Alaska (43 support, 53 oppose, 7 undecided). (Credit: Michael Corcoran / Truthout)Polling on legalizing marijuana has shown strong support for legalization in Arizona (poll done by Arizona Republic/Morrison/Conkite), Alaska (Ivan Moore), Maine (Portland Press Herald), Massachusetts (WBUR) and Nevada (Suffolk University). *A poll released on the same day (Dittman Research) found…

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