A recent Gallup poll found that 58% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, which is a marked change in public opinion compared to many earlier polls. That likely has something to do with the legalization of the drug in Colorado and Oregon back in 2012.
Since then, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia have also legalized marijuana. Now, a number of states across the union will face legalization issues on ballots in the next year.
Despite the seeming support the movement has, legalization won’t be a simple process across the country. In some states, like Massachusetts and California, there are a bewildering number of groups with different measures, all of which they would prefer to see passed in favor of the others.
In general, differences come down to issues of how to implement legalization, how much to tax the drug, and so on. Voters in California could face upwards of nine ballot proposals, if the different groups behind them can’t come to some agreements and reduce the number of measures.
Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, who supports legalization for adults, thinks this is a pretty big problem. If voters have that many measures to choose from, there’s a good chance that many will simply ignore all of them or, worse, vote them all down for sake of ease. That means nobody wins.
Groups in Massachusetts can’t set aside their differences to settle on one measure, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to do so any time soon. Elsewhere on the East Coast though, things are running much more smoothly.
In Maine, the two largest groups advocating for legalization have set aside their differences and throw their weight behind a single proposal, which still needs about 20,000 signatures in order to appear as a ballot initiative next year.