Marijuana Is More Popular Than Politicians Are


While many politicians continue to treat marijuana law reform as an issue that’s not important enough to include near the top of their agendas, they might want to take a look at the results from Election Day.

Eight out of nine statewide marijuana initiatives were approved last week, and in several places they outperformed politicians at the polls.

Florida’s medical marijuana measure, for example, got supermajority support in every single county across the state, strongly outperforming President-Elect Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio:

Medical marijuana: 6,515,964

Trump: 4,615,910

Rubio: 4,833,429

In Nevada, a successful measure to legalize marijuana for adults over 21 years of age bested the performances of Trump and U.S. Senate race winner Catherine Cortez Masto:

Legal marijuana: 602,400

Trump: 511,319

Cortez Masto: 520,658

Maine’s marijuana legalization measure, although it barely won, still did better than Trump did:

Legal marijuana: 378,288

Trump: 334,838

In California, a measure to legalize marijuana outperformed incoming U.S. Senator Kamala Harris:

Legal marijuana: 5,366,521

Harris: 5,264,471

In Montana, a measure to restore the state’s medical marijuana law after politicians tried to scale it back got more votes than Trump or Gov. Steve Bullock did:

Medical marijuana: 284,530

Trump: 274,119

Bullock: 250,845

Of course, marijuana measures also got way more votes than the Republican president-elect did in heavily Democratic states like California and Massachusetts.

And even in places where marijuana law reform measures didn’t outperform the candidates, they still did very well, often coming close to the vote totals for elected officials. In North Dakota, for example, the successful medical cannabis measure got just 714 fewer votes than Trump did:

Medical marijuana: 215,486

Trump: 216,200

And in Arizona, the only state to defeat a marijuana ballot measure this year, U.S. Sen. John McCain only did slightly better than ending prohibition did:

Legal marijuana: 1,117,858

McCain: 1,241,083

National polls show that a growing majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana outright and that a supermajority of voters support medical cannabis. In many cases, cannabis is much more popular with voters than elected officials are. That’s something politicians might want to keep in mind when deciding how to vote on the increasing number of marijuana law reform proposals that are being introduced in federal, state and local legislative bodies.

Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett.

About Author

Tom Angell covers policy and politics for Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit organization Marijuana Majority, which works to ensure that elected officials and the media treat legalization as a serious, mainstream issue. Marijuana Majority led the effort to get the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution telling the federal government to respect state marijuana laws, and orchestrated the first-ever endorsement for marijuana legalization by a U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens). Previously, Tom worked for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (All organizations are listed for identification purposes only.)

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