What do voters think of cannabis in 2022? The majority of registered voters in the United States believe that cannabis consumption should be legal for adults.
Based on a NORMAL poll, voters’ support for legalization is greatest among African Americans (72%), Democrats (71%), those between the ages of 18 and 44 (70%), Hispanics (67%), and Independents (61%).
Voters in five states will determine cannabis legalization on their midterm ballot including:
Cannabis is illegal on the federal level even though states continue to march toward widespread legalization.
More than a year and a half into his term, President Joe Biden made good on a cannabis campaign promise by introducing a 3-step reform plan. It includes:
- Pardoning people with prior federal marijuana-related convictions
- Urging states to implement similar pardons
- Calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to declassify marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance.
More than 6,500 people with federal marijuana-related charges are expected to see relief from Biden’s executive order.
Cannabis legalization has gained traction according to the National Conference of State Legislatures where 19 states, two territories, and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational adult use. Another 18 states and one territory have medicinal programs.
Half of the US goes Green
If all five of these ballot initiatives are successful, recreational cannabis would be legal in 24 states. And then in March of next year, Oklahoma could tip the scales to half of the United States.
Federally, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD, and can carry criminal penalties for possession.
Current Voter Views on Cannabis
Motivation for legalization varies, but proponents position the move as an opportunity to regulate the substance, create new jobs, and usher in criminal justice reform. If you look at the states that have gone legal, these claims are somewhat true, but the effectiveness of the program results are in the details of the execution.
Groups against legalization cite concerns around regulation, environmental impacts, potency and increased use among young people. A report funded by the National Institutes of Health found that young people used marijuana and some hallucinogens at record levels last year.
In a typical year, the midterms are a referendum on the current occupant of the White House, and generally do not leave behind good results for the president’s party, which typically loses an average of 28 House seats and 4 Senate seats in midterms, according to historical trends.
What the future holds: It will be interesting to see if cannabis moves the needle in the elections and if the average number of seats are increased or decreased.
If the Republicans take the majority in either the senate or the house, then national legalization will slow. However, If the conservative Republican states legalize cannabis at the midterm ballot, then Republicans may see it as a sign of things to come and work to develop passable bi-partisan cannabis legislation.
- Forbes – Midterm Elections
- Cannabis Ballot Measures
- AP NEWS: Midterm Elections
- Washington Post – Midterm Elections
- NORMAL: Cannabis Poll
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