After more states legalized pot, support at the federal level is what’s needed to make cannabis investors cheer again — and now it’s possible.
After five states — Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota — passed ballot measures for marijuana use last week, the drug will soon be legal in some form for 70% of the U.S. population. A third of the country won’t even need a medical excuse. But that’s not the surprise.
What’s more notable is that unlike in the past, all of this happened without much of a public uproar. To be fair, there have been bigger concerns on Americans’ minds these days. But this is the moment that cannabis companies and their investors have been waiting for: to be considered a legitimate industry rather than a hot voting issue. From here, the goal is to make weed every bit as normal as junk food, wine and other vices long found in stores across America.
In order for the industry to flourish it needs the federal government’s help, and the prospects of that are suddenly looking better. Two-thirds of U.S. adults are in favor of marijuana legalization — 91% if you include those who support it at a minimum for medicinal purposes, according to Pew Research Center. That’s more than the number of Americans who support abortion rights or who think human activity contributes to climate change.
The partisan gap in attitudes toward pot is also shrinking, with more than half of Republicans saying it should be legalized. In the reliably red state of Mississippi, Initiative 65 — the less-restrictive of two medical marijuana proposals that were on its ballot — was criticized by Governor Tate Reeves as too “liberal” for “non-stoners”:
And still it passed by 74%. As Joe Biden takes office in January and the makeup of Congress continues to reflect a divided nation, marijuana may end up being the one issue almost everyone can agree on.
Published: November 12, 2020