Voters could make cannabis legal in half of US states
Marijuana legalization advocates and members of community groups attend a rally against marijuana arrests in front of One Police Plaza in New York City in 2012. There are 18 states where adult marijuana use is legal. Voters could make adult use legal in as many as eight more states this fall, (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Marijuana could become legal in nearly half of the U.S. following the 2022 Midterm Elections—if voters in five states pass the ballot measures before them on Nov. 8.

In Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota voters are being asked whether they support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults. According to TIME, the measure looks likely to pass in three states—Arkansas, Maryland, and Missouri, per recent polling. However, the outcome is less certain in the Dakotas.

Oklahoma voters will also have the chance to vote on marijuana recreational legalization in a special election later in March 2023. If legislation passes, they would join 19 states and the District of Columbia.

An overwhelming majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, with a record-high of 68% in favor. It’s an issue with bipartisan support, with about 50% of Republicans in favor.

This year, the cannabis industry has invested nearly $10 million toward legalization efforts in states. Still, organizations like the Missouri NAACP, have not endorsed the initiative, saying it would prevent people of color from entering the cannabis industry, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Diddy signs new deal as voters head to the polls

To combat the lack of diversity, Sean “Diddy” Combs is jumping into New York’s cannabis industry with a $185 million deal — a strong foothold that will simultaneously create the largest Black-owned cannabis company in the U.S.

“My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis,” said Combs, chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises, in a statement about the deal.

In a statement, Combs said he was eager to help diversify the industry. Although states including New York have created equity programs, Black people still own fewer than 2% of legal cannabis companies, according to a recent analysis from the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

Which states outlaw marijuana entirely?

Only three states—Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska—have completely outlawed marijuana (including CBD products), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty seven states and the District of Columbia allow for medicinal cannabis use.

Only 27 states have partially or fully decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses, according to NORML, a nonprofit public-interest advocacy group.

Cannabis is big business

According to Colorado 9 News, this week marks 10 years since Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, clearing the way for marijuana legalization in the state and prompting more than a dozen other states to follow suit.

In the decade of legalization, Colorado reports $13.4 billion in legal marijuana sales, resulting in $2.2 billion in taxes collected.

Voters across the nation will make their own decision about a month after President Joe Biden urged state and local officials to follow his lead in pardoning those convicted on prior federal charges of simple marijuana possession.

Long gone are the days when a Presidential candidate swore he “never inhaled.” Today, political candidates proudly and publicly embrace the benefits of cannabis as a part of a winning campaign strategy. Only time will tell if American voters agree.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

One reply on “Voters could make cannabis legal in half of US states”

  1. Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!

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