The 2016 presidential election is not too far away and one topic in particular is expected to generate significant attention during the race. That topic is marijuana. The marijuana industry has made significant strides over the last two years and this trend is expected to continue for years to come.
Currently, 40 states have legalized some form of marijuana and a number of these states are critical swing states that are crucial to winning the election. The marijuana issue may still be in its infancy, but the 2016 election will serve as a catalyst for it legalization.
Republican millennials want marijuana to be legal
A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 63% of Republican millennials feel that the use of marijuana should be legal. Support among Democratic millennials was even higher, at 77%. The millennial age group is the only age group of Republicans that favor legal marijuana, while every Democratic age group favored its legalization.
The poll found that 59% of democrats and 58% of independents support marijuana legalization. Only 39% of republicans said that they are in favor of marijuana legalization. This is actually the highest it has ever been for the GOP.
Marijuana is on the 2016 ballot in a number of swing states
Marijuana legality remains a potent issue in key electoral states, which guarantees that the candidates will be drawn into the debate. The presence of a marijuana initiative on any state ballot will also result in a significant increase in voter turnout.
At least 20 ballot initiative efforts in eight states are already gathering attention in their push for legal medical and/or recreational marijuana. The states that are working to place a marijuana initiative on the ballot include Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Nevada. These states account for 171 electoral votes!
- Arizona: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RegulateAZ) will legalize the possession of an ounce of flowers and 5 grams of concentrates, home cultivation of six mature plants per adult and a max of 12 per household.
- California: The California has nine proposed initiatives for the 2016 ballot. The reforms range from unlimited legal possession to permitting a 500 square foot garden.
- Florida: People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM) and the United for Care Campaign are working to include a constitutional amendment on the ballot that legalizes medical marijuana.
- Maine: Legalize Maine will legalize possession of 2.5 ounces and cultivation of 6 mature plants, 12 immature plants, and unlimited seedlings. Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RegulateME) will legalize possession of one ounce and the cultivation of six plants. The proposal is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project.
- Massachusetts: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RegulateMA) is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, but they have not disclosed any details of their initiative.
- Michigan: Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee (MILegalize) will allow for the cultivation of 12 plants over 12″ tall and unlimited plants under 12″.
- Missouri: Show-Me Cannabis will legalize the possession of one ounce of extracts, 12 ounces of flower, 16 ounces of edibles, 20 ounces of liquids, and the cultivation of six marijuana plants. It will establish a medical marijuana program and a commercial marijuana market. It will also provide a path for expungement of past marijuana criminal records.
- Nevada: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RegulateNV) is already approved to be on the ballot.