Five States Pass Marijuana Measures in 2020 Election

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While all eyes were on the Presidential race on November 3, other votes were cast to determine the future of Marijuana use in the United States.

New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota have officially legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The state of Mississippi legalized medicinal purposes only. Now, one in three Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal for citizens 21 and older.

The results across the country received positive reactions from social media users, many sharing their excitement and their hopes that soon marijuana will be legal on a federal level. Citizens and political leaders agree that although legalization is a step in the right direction, there is still immense work to do when incorporating the drug into society. Despite laws being passed across the country and scientific studies showing the multitude of uses for marijuana, Black people are still four times more likely to be arrested for the use of the drug. With decriminalization, many believe those that have minor marijuana convictions should be released.

Critics of the legalization shared concerns about the effects of legality on their communities. States like Colorado and Nevada, who already legalized recreational use, are examples of the short- and long-term effects. Both economies saw substantial growth with small businesses being created, in turn offering more jobs. Colorado saw a sharp decline in crime, rather than the uptick that was expected with legalizing a drug. Social Media users shared their optimism that legalization will have similar positives outcomes in the newly legal states.

N.J., AZ, MT, and S.D. join the District of Columbia and 11 other states that have legalized recreational cannabis. D.C. also voted to decriminalize psychedelic drugs, and Oregon voted to pass the decriminalization of all drugs, including cocaine heroin. Oregon will now be offering rehabilitation services instead of arrests. The country continues to make strides to better understand these drugs and help those who face addiction.