Hey, you crazy kids. This bizarre virtual reality simulation we call home has seen even more pushes in the right direction over the past month. Get this: We're rolling up on another election, and for the first time ever, people are talking about cannabis without sneering or laughing.
This could be it, folks. Stock up on those heady indicas and try your best to make it through this election cycle with your sanity and sense of hope intact. This is not a drill.
Majority of Americans in Favor of Cannabis Legalization
According to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 60 percent of Americans want to see cannabis legalized. The report says the numbers flipped from 10 years ago, when 32 percent were in favor of legalization and 60 percent opposed. They give credit for the trend to the Millennials—those whose age falls between 18 and 35 in 2016—71 percent of whom are reportedly pro-legalization (up from 34 percent in 2006). The report also states that 56 percent of Baby Boomers—ages 52-70 in 2016—support legalization (up from a measly 17 percent in 1990), and Gen Xers—ages 36-51 in 2016—are up to 57 percent (21 percent in 1990). Those are some ridiculously sliding numbers.
Five States Voting for Legalization
Measures to legalize and regulate the sale of cannabis are on the ballot in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada on Nov. 8. If these measures pass, the total number of states with legalized recreational cannabis will total nearly a quarter of the nation. That would mean a much larger portion of the country calling for Congress to ease banking restrictions on cannabis producers, as well as a larger block of constituents pressuring the federal government to reassess its laws. Support for legalization is currently leading the polls in all five states. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota will be voting on whether or not to approve the use of medical cannabis within their borders.
Cannabis and the Big Election
In spite of the glaring omission of any cannabis talk during either of the two presidential debates, the federal cannabis ban is still a major issue with voters. Up to this point, bringing up legalization in a “serious” context was met with laughter or disdain (for proof, just look at President Obama yucking it up a mere seven years ago when the question comes up during the first online White House town hall meeting). But now it's looking like a candidate's views on cannabis can make or break their campaign.
Not too sure on the Big Two's stands on cannabis prohibition? Here's a quick rundown:
Hillary Clinton: Outwardly, the Democratic nominee has shown a guardedly pro-cannabis position, calling states like Colorado or Washington—where recreational use of cannabis is legal—“laboratories of democracy,” criticizing the number of nonviolent drug offenders in prison and considering the rescheduling of cannabis. But hacked emails released by Wikileaks and dug up by Marijuana.com brought light to the transcript of a paid speech delivered by Clinton during a Q & A session with Xerox's chairman and CEO, Ursula Burns, in which she expressed a strong stance against legalization. This can prove problematic, since polls have shown that two-thirds of Democratic voters are in favor.
Donald Trump: The ex-reality-television-star-turned-presidential-nominee for the Republican party has mentioned being in support of legalizing medical cannabis, but when it comes to recreational use, he says it should be left up to the individual states (though he has stated that he is personally against it, and considers Colorado's decision to legalize recreational cannabis as “bad”). Trump's campaign has also portrayed cannabis use in a negative light during an attack ad aimed at Jeb Bush that recalls Bush admitting he smoked cannabis when he was younger. But let's be honest, here. Even if you like the guy, you have to admit that what he says from day to day changes from day to day and hardly seems to mean anything. Who the hell knows what he's really planning?
So, basically, we can all just forget about seeing recreational cannabis federally legalized in America any time soon, because no matter who you pick, it's just going to be the same ol' same ol'. Cheers.