State Voters With Minds of Their Own
Frustrated by a do-nothing Congress, voters took policy matters into their own hands on Tuesday by passing state ballot proposals to legalize marijuana, approve new transportation projects, raise state minimum wages and strengthen gun control laws. That these progressive measures won is an indication that voters are moving left on many issues, despite Donald Trump’s victory.
Marijuana wins big. California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota and Montana passed measures to make the drug available for medical use. With these new laws, more than 20 percent of the American population lives in a state or territory that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This should push President-elect Trump and the next Congress to remove the drug from the Controlled Substances Act and repeal federal criminal penalties for possessing small quantities of marijuana. This would give states that are moving ahead with legalization certainty that the federal government will not try to thwart their policies.
Photo credit: Tim Hussin for The New York Times