Tuesday’s election was a resounding win for marijuana law reform efforts. The newly elected governors in New Jersey and Virginia campaigned on marijuana legalization and decriminalization, respectively, and local cannabis ballot measures were approved by voters in Athens, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.
Incoming New Jersey governor Philip Murphy made marijuana legalization a key part of his platform, even including it in his primary victory speech in June. State legislators appear ready to send a bill to his desk in 2018, meaning New Jersey could be the next state to regulate cannabis like alcohol, and the first to do it via an act of lawmakers instead of through a ballot initiative.
Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam championed marijuana decriminalization on the campaign trail, often bringing it up during debates and on social media. And a potential change in control of the state’s House of Delegates could help the new governor move cannabis legislation when he takes office.
“These election results show that marijuana reform is a winning issue, and one that isn’t going away,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “Candidates across the country should take note: marijuana reform is now more popular than almost any politician, so would-be elected officials should listen to the public and make it a key part of their platforms.”
Marijuana Majority does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office, and works to shine a spotlight on how prominent people from across the political spectrum are beginning to treat cannabis as a mainstream issue.
“Following our big wins at the ballot box in 2016, last night’s results show that marijuana reform only continues to gain momentum,” said Sam Tracy, Marijuana Majority board member. “Next year, multiple states will be voting on whether to legalize marijuana for medical or adult use, and candidates in races for state and federal office will be asked about these issues, so they’d do well to come up with good answers. As the public becomes even more supportive of legalization, we expect these victories to continue.”
In October, Gallup reported that its latest survey found record support for regulating marijuana like alcohol, with 64% of voters supporting legalization. Support for medical marijuana is significantly higher, with Quinnipiac finding 94% support for allowing patients to use it legally.
Marijuana Majority is dedicated to making sure the media, politicians and government officials treat marijuana as a serious issue that is important to a growing majority of Americans.