Marijuana gains bipartisan support, continues success in the new decade
Evidenced by the results of the 2020 election, marijuana legalization may no longer suffer the obstacle of being a partisan issue, at least in the eyes of voters. A Gallup Poll released Nov 9. indicates that 68% of Americans favor legalization. Marijuana measures that made it onto the ballot in 2020 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Currently, 15 states have broadly legalized recreational marijuana, and 36 have legalized medicinal cannabis. You are starting to see more and more medical and recreational marjuana dispensaries pop up. Both South Dakota and Montana are conservative-leaning states, with Republicans winning seats in kay major races. Support for legalization passed in both states with at least 16 points more support than was received by President-Elect Joe Biden.
Many Republican voters are beginning to categorize marijuana legalization as an issue of personal responsibility and freedom. The public no longer views marijuana as a schedule I substance that is a danger to society. While conservative voters are showing movement on where they stand, establishment Republicans in both the House and Senate intend to impede progress on the matter of legalization.
Senator Mitch McConnell, whose Republican Majority leadership role is currently being threatened by the results of two Georgia Senate runoff elections, has historically opposed cannabis legalization and not allowed for it to be brought to a vote in the Senate. If Republicans win both Senate seats in Georgia, and they are currently favored to do so, legalization may be dead on arrival unless new officials are elected to Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
Instead of waiting for a more marijuana-friendly federal government, States have taken it into their own hands at the calls from the people to legalize. Cannabis remains illegal both recreationally and medically at the federal level. Veterans who receive medical treatment from Veterans Affairs clinics cannot be prescribed medical marijuana as an alternative treatment. Instead, opioids are often prescribed as the primary treatment for chronic pain.
Marijuana legalization now enjoys bipartisan support and no longer suffers the obstacle of being a partisan issue. While it may be unlikely to see legalization at the federal level within the next two years, if the people continue to put it to a vote on the ballot, marijuana will continue to see success across the country.