As California readies to legalize marijuana, the year of 2017 showed a big change in Americans’ sentiments toward cannabis. Major transformations are happening on the Republican side of the fence.
A poll published by Gallup in October showed 64 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal. This is the highest in 50 years. While Independents and Democrats have always shown more support for the legalization of marijuana, the poll also showed Republican backing.
U.S. media also reported about these changes. The U.S. Metro on Thursday dubbed 2017 as a “big year” for marijuana, it added:
“For the first time, a majority of Americans said it should be legalized.”
“The year ahead portends legalization in three states, and the first pro-pot initiatives enacted by lawmakers instead of voter referendums,” it said.
In the US, seven states – Washington, Nevada, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Maine – and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing recreational marijuana. In addition to its medical use, with California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada being the recent joiners.
On top of that, the newly elected Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, of the northeastern state of New Jersey added the legalization of marijuana to his election platform. He is promising to include a bill in 2018 to see it happening.
In the northeastern state of Michigan, bordering Canada, Metro reported that a “legalization measure will be put before voters in the November election,” citing that the “majority of residents back legalization: 58%, to 36% opposed.”
In Virgina, its newly elected governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, also favors decriminalization, which has attracted bipartisan support. The Republican Senate Majority leader says he will bring a decriminalization to the floor in 2018.
Besides recreational cannabis, initiatives backing medical marijuana could possibly make their “way to state elections in Oklahoma, Utah and Missouri.” This is where a solid majority of residents approve of pot’s medical use.
California, almost 40 million in population, will become the biggest U.S. state to legalize marijuana on Jan. 1, 2018. It will also continue to keep making changes at least economically, luring more states to covet more of the additional profits coming from marijuana sales.