With approval in Maryland and Missouri, this type of cannabis use will be legal in 21 of the 50 US territories
< i class="i-share-btn twitter">
Protesters wave flags with marijuana leaves during a protest calling for legalization outside the White House (AP/file)
Five states of the United States consulted their voters for the recreational use of marijuana in these mid-term elections and only in two of them, Maryland and Missouri, did they support its legalization.
The consultation obtained, on the contrary, a negative result in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota, where the “no” was imposed.
In the five states, the medicinal use of marijuana was already allowed and only in Maryland and Missouri have voters opted to go one step further and support recreational use.
With these two territories there are now twenty-one states that have legalized this drug for recreational purposes.
In North Dakota, voters already rejected the complete legalization of cannabis in 2018 and in its brother in the South a similar measure was already approved in 2020 that was annulled by the state Justice.
The decriminalization of marijuana use is one of the big bets of the Democratic Party at the national level but, although at the local level there are also Republican representatives who support it, the majority of the conservatives in the Lower House They have opposed the measure, which has prevented progressives from implementing it.
Missouri's measure will legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and erase records of prior arrests and convictions for nonviolent crimes related to marijuana, except for selling to minors or driving under the influence.
“This shows that this is not a partisan issue,” said John Payne, who led the Missouri campaign to legalize marijuana use. “This is something that cuts across partisan divides.” He also said that he expected recreational sales to begin in Missouri early next year.
Opponents said they would be working to limit Missouri's implementation of legalization, such as working with cities and towns to opt out of dispensaries. “The devil is in the details, and we will continue to be actively involved in Missouri's implementation because we don't need another Big Tobacco industry harming children in Missouri,” said Kevin Sabet, president of SAM Action, an anti-legalization group. p>
Marylandit will also introduce changes to criminal law and create the automatic expungement of convictions for possession of marijuana in the past.
Before the elections, recreational marijuana it was legal in 19 states, and polls have shown that opposition to legalization is softening. Every state with recreational marijuana on the ballot except Maryland voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
About 6 in 10 voters support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana nationwide, according to VoteCast, a broad survey of more than 90,000 voters across the country conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. “Support for ending marijuana prohibition in the states is spreading in much the same way that ending alcohol prohibition did,” said Mason Tvert, a partner at VS Strategies, a policy and public affairs firm. related to cannabis.
The lack of progress in this area led the US president, Joe Biden, to announce last month a series of executive orders to advance in the decriminalization of the consumption of cannabis. Among them, Biden pardoned all those convicted at the federal level for possession of marijuana last October and encouraged state administrations to do the same at the state level. He also ordered the Departments of Health and Justice to begin the process to review the classification of cannabis on the list of controlled substances in the country.
Currently it occupies level 1 together with drugs such as heroin or LSD, the most restrictive.
Marijuana plantation for recreational use in New York (Reuters)
Despite According to its national classification, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 19 states and in the nation's capital, Washington, while its use for medical reasons is contemplated in 37 states and in the capital itself.
(With information from EFE and AP)
Continue reading:< /i>