Five states legalized marijuana in some form on Election Day this year. When those newly approved laws take effect, about one-third of the nation’s population will live in a state where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational purposes. Now, advocates are already hard at work formulating plans and collecting signatures to extend that success to even more states during the 2022 midterms.
For background, every single marijuana measure placed on state ballots this year passed: Arizona (recreational), Mississippi (medical) Montana (recreational), New Jersey (recreational), South Dakota (recreational and medical). The victories represent a continuation of the state-level reform movement that has consistently expanded in election after election.
But while advocates see this momentum as building pressure for federal policy change, they aren’t giving up statewide pushes.
Nebraska and Idaho activists are already in the process of qualifying medical marijuana measures for midterm ballots in 2022, for example. And it’s unlikely that those will be the only states were voters will get to decide on cannabis reform in two years.
Matthew Schweich, the deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project who was involved in several of the successful reform initiatives this year, told Marijuana Moment that the election results make him optimistic that “there’s a path to victory in multiple states [in 2022] and we just need to survey the landscape.”