Where is marijuana legal in the US? Five charts break down the state of the country
Voters in Oklahoma will reject a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in the state, CNN projects.
The vote in Oklahoma — where voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018 — shows how the issue now transcends politics as well as geography, as Americans’ attitudes on the subject have shifted in recent years. Softness has come.
Recent polls show that most Americans now say they support legal marijuana. As attitudes change, lawmakers show more willingness to make changes on the issue: Five of seven states have legislated to legalize recreational use in the past two years.
Oklahoma will become the latest state to show how policies on the issue have changed — even in red states. Two-thirds of Americans opposed legalization two decades ago. Which is now reversed.
Oklahoma would be the fourth recreational marijuana state to vote for former President Donald Trump in 2020.
Polling by Gallup shows that a majority of Republicans now support legalization, after decades of opposing the idea, reflecting a broader demographic shift.
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Oklahoma is one of 37 states, along with Washington, DC, that has a comprehensive medical cannabis program.
But there are many provisions for medical and recreational use in the gray areas. States have written a spectrum of laws, from fully legal markets collecting tax revenue to those designed for specific products.
That fragmented legal network is a product of growing progress statewide, as drug convictions have declined over the past 27 years.
The legalization movement began in earnest after California voters approved medical marijuana in 1996. By 2012, after several other states had also adopted medical programs, voters in Colorado and Washington were poised to cast their ballots for recreational legalization.
By 2022, enough momentum had gathered that President Joe Biden ordered a review of whether marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug. This classification means that marijuana has “no approved medical use” from a federal perspective like heroin.
But advocates remain skeptical of a move from the federal government after decades of inaction.
“If there was a tipping point that would influence the federal government or Congress to prioritize this issue, we’ve obviously passed that tipping point some time ago,” said Paul Armentano, NORML deputy. said the director.
Going forward, however, more and more states could pursue legalization through the work of their state legislatures, rather than through ballot initiatives, Armentano said. He noted that the number of states that can still make changes through voters is limited.
Of the 21 states and DC that have previously legalized recreational adult use, 15 have done so via ballot measure, while seven have enacted it through the state legislature.
Activists supporting Oklahoma’s legalization measure argue that recreational marijuana sales could bring in billions. Tax income. According to the 21 states where recreational use is currently legal, collecting taxes on marijuana as of February 19 Tax Policy Center.
Washington, DC was blocked by Congress from enacting the tax, and Virginia and Maryland are still in the process of establishing their markets.
“The way states do this can either be lightning fast or take a long time,” said Richard Auxier, a senior policy associate. Tax Policy Center. The efficiency of states like Arizona and Missouri in establishing their own legal markets shows that, “if you want to, you can go from zero to 60, really quickly,” Auxier said.
In Oklahoma, which already has a robust market of medical retailers, the transition will likely be quick, said Bridget Hennessy, vice president of public affairs at WedMaps, a tech startup that connects consumers with dispensaries. According to Leafly, another cannabis startup, there are at least 1,800 cannabis retailers currently operating in Oklahoma.
Ohio could be the next state where voters take up the issue in November. With the addition of a few more states that have introduced bills to legalize this year, by the end of the year, nearly half of the nation’s states and DC could have a legal recreational drug market in violation of federal laws.
“This is a political and cultural issue that defies all the rules we might have learned in civics class,” Armentano said.