Tuesday’s elections brought big news for some advocates of marijuana legalization. There were several states with marijuana measures on the ballot, many of which brought favorable results who want to see the momentum of marijuana legalization keep moving forward.
Two new states reigned in new governors, and several states, counties and towns across the nation voted to change current marijuana legislation. Curious about changes implemented to cannabis policy nationwide? Here’s an overview of election results.
Marijuana Election Results 2017
New Jersey and Virginia Get New Governors
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was voted out of office on Tuesday. Christie, who was recently slammed for his views on medical cannabis, will be replaced by Phil Murphy. Known for campaigning for marijuana legalization, Murphy made it a point to mention his views on cannabis in his victory speech.
“The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana. And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just,” said Murphy in his speech.
Murphy is adamant about marijuana legalization. As the new governor of New Jersey, he may make the state the first in the nation to legalize recreational cannabis under legislation, rather than by voter approval.
In Virginia, governor-elect Ralph Northam, made cannabis decriminalization the centerpiece of his campaign. And he often described the issue in racial justice terms. Speaking out for the African American community, Northam wrote the following in a blog post earlier this year:
“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana. African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”
In a letter sent to the Virginia State Crime Commission, Northam wrote: “African Americans are nearly 3 times as likely to get arrested for simple possession of marijuana and sentencing guidelines that include jail time can all too often begin a dangerous cycle of recidivism.”
Oh yah, and he’s also a doctor. One known for praising the benefits of medical marijuana for conditions like “pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD.” He believes that decriminalization will allow for further research, which will further allow more doctors to prescribe it.
Colorado Marijuana Election Results
In Colorado, the state that “started it all”, marijuana legislation has slowed down considerably since the state legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. There were however, several ballot measures regarding local marijuana tax measures. Three Colorado cities also voted to allow sales of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. Here’s what happened:
Alamosa, Rocky Ford, and Monte Vista were the three Colorado cities with questions of retail and/or medical sales. All three also had separate, corresponding tax measures that would collect revenue on potential cannabis sales. In all three cities, the proposed tax measures passed. Rocky Ford however, will be the only city to sell recreational cannabis.
There were 14 cities throughout the state with proposed tax measures. They passed in 13, with the town of Foxfield (where cannabis sales are banned) the only one who vetoed against marijuana tax measures in Tuesday’s election.
Fort Collins passed a measure that will allow City Council to amend the City Code regarding medical marijuana ordinances without voter approval.
Marijuana Election Results Across the Country
Marijuana’s a hot political topic these days, and there were several states with ballot measures regarding recreational and medical cannabis.
Philadelphia’s new District Attorney, Lawrence Krasner, has advocated against prosecution for cannabis. He’s made reference to the opioid crisis, stating that places that have made marijuana avaialable have seen a “25 percent reduction in opiate/opioid overdose deaths.”
In Detroit, voters approved to allow medical marijuana businesses to stay open longer and operate in more areas. Full marijuana legalization is expected for 2018.
New York voters will have to wait until 2018 to see recreational legalization efforts pass.
The overall consensus on cannabis election results for 2017 is extremely positive. Marijuana legalization continues to make strides forward as laws are continually updated and changed across the country. We’re in the midst of great change. One day, in the not so distant future, it’s likely we’ll live in a country where cannabis is completely incorporated.