Analysis: When marijuana is on the ballot, it winsPosted by On


(CNN) — Marijuana, at times, seems to be a third rail in American politics. While most Democrats are ardent defenders of abortion rights and gay rights, many party lawmakers are less vocal about decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. It was only Thursday when President Joe Biden decided to pardon all people convicted of federal marijuana possession.

I’m not really sure why it took so long. Democratic voters are overwhelmingly for marijuana legalization, and marijuana tends to be a political winner when it appears on the ballot.

It was only a decade ago when recreational marijuana wasn’t legalized anywhere. Today, you can legally light up in 19 states.

The majority of these states did it through ballot measures. Now, while it’s not surprising that voters in liberal states such as California and Massachusetts voted in favor of marijuana legalization, a number of purple or red states have done so as well.

Voters in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada and South Dakota have all voted to legalize recreational marijuana. But not only that, they have tended to do so by margins that far exceed the Democratic Party’s baseline.

Take the four places where voters decided to legalize marijuana in 2020: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota. The margin of “yes” to legalization over “no” to legalization exceeded Biden’s margin in each of these states by at least 18 points.

This year, marijuana legalization…

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