Marijuana Federalism Takes Big Step Forward
One positive note that came out of the Nov. 3 elections: the growing number of states calling an end to a major part of the drug war:
New Jersey’s approval of marijuana legalization was expected. Preelection surveys consistently put public support above 60 percent, although the actual margin of victory was a few points bigger than the polls suggested.
Arizona, where voters rejected legalization in 2016, was iffier. Public support averaged 56 percent in five polls conducted from mid-May to mid-October, and voters have been known to have second thoughts about legalization as Election Day approaches. In the end, legalization won by nearly 20 points. Survey averages likewise underestimated public support in Montana, where voters approved legalization by a 13-point margin, and Mississippi, where voters favored a relatively liberal medical marijuana initiative by a margin of nearly 3 to 1.
And who would have predicted that South Dakotans, who are overwhelmingly Republican and conservative, would make their state the first jurisdiction in the country to simultaneously legalize medical and recreational marijuana? Not me. Voters favored the former measure by more than 2 to 1, while the latter won by seven points.
This great experiment in federalism is bringing a measured, reasonable end to marijuana prohibition. It is also one of the most profound and far-reaching means of reforming the criminal justice system. It’s a two-fer win for freedom, and common sense.
Image Credit: By Chmee2 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons