A state by state look at the election results – recreational cannabis is now legal in 4 new states, 1 deep south state approved medical, a few regions have a loosened restrictions on psychedelic mushrooms, and 1 state even decriminalized the possession of cocaine, heroin, and meth. In true 2020 fashion, it’s been one hell of an election so far!
That headline pretty much covers what we’ll be discussing today, what’s legal now, and where. Although the official number for the next president are yet to be officially counted, the vote is in on numerous state ballot initiatives around the country – many of which were about the possession and use of various substances. Everything from marijuana to methamphetamine is getting legalized, really emphasizing a new autonomous attitude towards what one does with their own body.
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Cannabis Election Updates
In total, 5 states have voted in updates to their current cannabis laws. Recreational has been approved in Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, and South Dakota – one state from nearly every region. A total of 15 states, plus Washington D.C. have completely legalized the use of marijuana, meaning that roughly 1/3 of Americans live in a state where weed is legal.
The cut-and-dry victories for cannabis advocates in these normally conservative states, like Montana and South Dakota, are promising signs that social change is imminent and marijuana use will soon be legalized nationwide.
“Today, New Jerseyans spoke with a unified voice with a clear message: the time of cannabis prohibition must end,” ACLU New Jersey Executive Director Amol Sinha said in a statement. “Unjust racial disparities have for decades defined enforcement of marijuana laws, and we must make sure that we now do everything in our power to ensure that racial justice defines legalization.”
Although no Southern states have gone so far as to legalize adult-use cannabis, Mississippi did approve the limited use of medical marijuana. “Voters in Mississippi approved a statewide measure to allow for medical marijuana use for people with debilitating medical conditions, with an overwhelming 74.1 percent of voters supporting,” the Times reported Wednesday.
Shrooms have been a hot topic of discussion lately as people are becoming more aware of the many benefits this natural psychedelic has to offer, particularly for one’s mental health. A few cities, including Denver, CO, and Oakland, CA, have decriminalized the use and possession of shroom during the last year.
Yesterday, our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., followed suit and approved Initiative Measure 81. While magic mushrooms aren’t completely legal in D.C., decriminalization means that arrests and prosecution of crimes related to the possession of these substance will be bottom-of-the-barrel priority.
Oregon voters took this a step further and completely legalized the possession and use of psilocybin for any ages 21 and older. Advocates of Measure 109 said the move would allow the drug to be used to treat depression, anxiety and other conditions.
Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin…
On Tuesday, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other hard drugs. The measure would take these possession crimes and treat them as infractions, similar to a traffic ticket.
Drug possession will be punished by a $100 fine. Instead of the fine, users can also opt for a medical evaluation and time in a drug-treatment facility, many of which will now be funded from marijuana sales taxes.
Although controversial, proponents of the measure praise it for being a forward thinking approach to solving and age-old problem. “This is incredible,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance. “This is like taking a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the drug war.”
According to Ms. Frederique, “Passage of the measure showed that voters were eager for a new approach on drug policy to handle it as a health issue and prioritize treatment. She said she expected other states to follow suit, mentioning efforts in states such as California, Vermont and Washington.”
Possession of larger amounts could result in misdemeanor charges, and some cases that rise to what is considered a commercial level could still be charged as felonies.
To say that it has been an interesting year would be putting it lightly. This year, the real election winner is cannabis. The legalization of marijuana in conservative states, as well as decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms in D.C., are incredibly positive signs of what’s to come.
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