As it turns out, 2016 was a good year for one thing, marijuana! On Election Day, Nov. 8, voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved measures that will allow for recreational marijuana use in those states, per Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post.
Maine voters also passed a similar referendum, but opponents of the measure are currently in the process of requesting a recount. A marijuana initiative was on the ballot in Arizona, but voters rejected the measure by only 2%.
Medical marijuana also won big on election night with voters in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas passing similar measures that permit medical marijuana. In Montana, voters eased the restrictions on existing medical marijuana laws.
Supporters of these measures were more than excited with the results in these states, Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement… with California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.”
So where exactly does that put the state of marijuana on a national level? According to data aggregated by Governing.com, eight states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana both recreationally and medically, and an additional 20 states allow medical marijuana. For supporters of the decriminalization of marijuana, this is a very hopeful time. Over half of the states in the Union allow marijuana in some form or another.
It is my belief that recreational marijuana should be legalized across the United States. I value personal freedoms and believe that it is every person’s right to consume or partake in whatever they wish, within reason.
I have personally heard many arguments against marijuana legalization in which people argue that I would not want someone driving while high, or performing their job when they are high. And they are right, I do not. Just like I do not want people driving, or performing their jobs while they are drunk.
While I believe that marijuana should be legalized, I also believe that it should be regulated to ensure safe consumption for those who wish to partake.