'An Opportunity to Correct Course': Marijuana on the Ballot 2016 – Common Dreams (press release)
A potential sea change in marijuana legislation is coming, with ballot measures in several states giving voters the opportunity to make it legal for adults.
Polls indicate the propositions will pass in several states, including California—historically a trendsetter in national politics, where supporters say a victory could start a domino effect that will see recreational marijuana legalized throughout the country. And public support for legal weed is at a record high of 60 percent, according to a recent Gallup survey.
If all goes well, after November 8, marijuana could be legal for medical or recreational use in 29 states.
Some advocates caution that the efforts may not help to achieve other goals that stem from legalization, such as criminal justice reform.
But proponents like the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) point to measures that have already passed in states including Colorado and Alaska as evidence that legalization at any level helps increase public safety and boost local economies. The organization released a report with those findings last month, stating it was “so far, so good” in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., which collectively reported a plummeting rate of marijuana arrests, no significant increases in youth consumption, tax revenues that exceeded initial estimates, and no reports of dangerous road conditions from impaired driving.
“Marijuana prohibition has been a costly failure—to individuals, communities, and the entire country,” Joy Haviland, DPA staff attorney, said at the report’s release. “States that have chosen to legalize marijuana under state law should be praised for developing a smarter, more responsible approach to marijuana.”
As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, local initiatives to loosen outdated restrictions could put pressure on the federal