DemDaily: Cannabis: Red State, Blue State
May 5, 2021
Marijuana legalization has long been seen as a Democratic issue, with blue state lawmakers leading the movement over the last two decades to decriminalize, if not legalize, cannabis.That trend has changed, however, with Republican lawmakers across the country starting to embrace the issue as red state voters signal their approval of medicinal and recreational use of the psychoactive substance.
In the 2020 elections, Arizona, Montana and New Jersey voted to legalize recreational cannabis, Mississippi voted to legalize medicinal cannabis, and South Dakota became the first state to legalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis during the same election.
On the more progressive front, DC decriminalized a range of psychedelic plants and mushrooms, while Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms, for individuals over age 21.
|All told, 17 states and DC have passed legislation or ballot initiatives allowing residents to legally light up and 38 states now allow some degree of medicinal use. Marijuana use has been decriminalized to some extent in 31 states, while it remains illegal in 13.|
Regulations, however, vary by state. Iowa technically has a medical marijuana program, but it is so tightly regulated that weed is effectively illegal in the state. Nebraska has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana for first-time offenders, but second-time offenders can be punished by both fines and jail time.
According to an April 5-11, 2021 poll of US adults conducted by the Pew Research Center, an overwhelming share of U.S. adults (91%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use (60%), or that it should be legal for medical use only (31%). Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) say marijuana should not be legal for use by adults. Margin of Error: +/- 2.1%.
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Sources: DISA, Thrillist, Ballotpedia, Vox, Marijuana Moment, NPRM, MJBizDaily, Marijuana Policy Project