The blinders are falling off like scales, to use the proverbial expression, and Americans are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of marijuana. The latest polls show Americans are in favor of weed in states with November ballot initiatives to legalize recreational and medical marijuana.
In November, Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will vote on whether or not to fully legalize marijuana for recreational use. And Florida will vote to legalize medical marijuana, joining over two dozen other states and the District of Columbia who currently have already legalized what many are calling a “wonder drug”.
The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham reported the ballot measures are likely to pass if nothing changes before November. In California, 60 percent of those polled favor legalization. In Nevada, 50 percent favor legalization to only 40 percent who oppose. In Arizona, 50 percent support legalization while 40 percent oppose the plant becoming available to those 21 and over. In MA and ME, 53 percent favor legal weed. And in the Sin City State of Nevada, those in favor make of 57 percent. Quite possibly the most surprising poll numbers come from the Sunshine State of Florida where 70 percent are in favor of medical marijuana being made available to its citizens.
Florida’s MMJ program, if it passes, will mark the second of the Southern States, after Louisiana, to legalize marijuana in some form. But if it passes in Florida, it will most likely lead other Southern States to consider MMJ as a viable and safe alternative medicine. Legalizing marijuana can be a cash cow for struggling state budgets, as marijuana taxes have the potential of covering state budget shortfalls.
North Carolina, while it’s been busy fighting its HB2 bathroom battles with the federal government, may slowly be moving toward accepting MMJ as an alternative medicine. Recently, NC has in some cases decriminalized marijuana, and has allowed for CBD oil, hemp oil, to be sold in its state to treat intractable illnesses such as seizures.
While the NC law allows for CBD oil to be used for epilepsy, The Free Thought Project easily found CBD oil for sale over the counter in NC vape shops. Hypothetically speaking, if NC legalizes medical marijuana, South Carolina will likely follow suit, leading many to believe it’s just a matter of time before medical marijuana is available in the Bible Belt.
Supposing all six of the aforementioned states pass marijuana laws in November, the grand total of states embracing marijuana as medicine will total 27, a majority of the 50 states in the union. Medical Marijuana is already legal in CA, MA, ME, and AZ. Those states are simply voting to follow Colorado and make marijuana legal for recreational use.
While many states have used and are using ballot initiatives to gain access to legal weed, the federal government appears to be going in the opposite direction. In August, not only did the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) refuse to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule I drug (in the same category as heroin and LSD), but they made the highly unusual move to classify Kratom as a Schedule I drug as well. In effect, the DEA doubled down on its stance that weed should remain illegal, and made a power move to lump Kratom into the same category, a plant opiate addicts have successfully been using to kick their prescription and illegal drug habits.
Only time will tell if recreational and medical marijuana will be made a reality in those states with 2016 ballot initiatives. But at this point in the game, it appears voters are supportive of the measures giving citizens choice when it comes to the plant’s natural medicinal benefits, decriminalizing many of its uses, helping the police focus on more serious criminal activity, and supplementing state budgets with pot taxes.