Tomorrow will be the biggest election in the history of marijuana reform. Five states are voting on recreational marijuana legalization. Four states are voting on medical marijuana legalization. There are even some significant local elections happening in Colorado and Oregon. Many organizations and campaign efforts waited until 2016 because voter turnout is higher in Presidential election years, so it’s all in.
I feel sad for the states that didn’t make the ballot. Missouri fell just a handful of signatures short, otherwise they would be joining states in voting on medical marijuana legalization. South Dakota and Oklahoma lost a legal challenge, otherwise they would have been added as well to the list of states voting on medical marijuana legalization in 2016. Michigan I thought had a great chance of passing a recreational marijuana legalization measure, but unfortunately shady politics kept that initiative off the ballot.
As far as I know, all of those states will be pushing for 2018, and in the case of Oklahoma, they are virtually guaranteed a spot on the 2018 ballot. But that is all in the future. Right now, it’s 2016 ‘election eve’ and I couldn’t be more excited. I won’t go as far as making any predictions right now, but I will point out that polling is favorable in 4 out of the 5 states that will be voting on legalization, with Arizona being the only one super close in the latest polling results. Arizona has a great chance though, and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a sweep.
If all five states voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the number of Americans living in a state where recreational marijuana is legal would balloon from 5% to roughly 25%. President Obama recently stated that federal prohibition would ‘no longer be tenable’ and I think that he’s right. I think that a sweep tomorrow would dramatically speed up the rate at which we see federal prohibition end. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has stated many times that he feels that federal prohibition would be ‘game over’ by the end of the decade. If tomorrow goes well, we could see it happen sooner than later!