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On November 3, four American states voted to legalize marijuana: Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota. Combined with the other states that have done so in recent years, one in three Americans now live in a state where access to marijuana has been legalized. It shows that Americans are souring on the harsh drug policies that have put millions of people in prison.
But America’s national drug policy is a different story. Under federal law, marijuana is still classified as a “schedule 1” drug, meaning it’s considered to have little medical value and a high risk of abuse, along with drugs like LSD, heroin, ecstasy and psilocybin mushrooms. In states where marijuana has been legalized, that conflict with federal law creates numerous problems for legal marijuana sellers and users. And few national politicians talk about legalizing marijuana throughout the country. But advocates are hoping that by introducing new state laws one by one, Americans who are ready to move on from the country’s decades-long war on drugs will eventually force the federal government’s hand.
Read Vox’s coverage of marijuana legalization in the 2020 election here: https://www.vox.com/2020-presidential-election/2020/11/4/21548800/election-results-marijuana-legalization-drug-decriminalization-new-jersey-arizona-oregon-montana
There’s more about Americans’ support of weed legalization in the latest Gallup survey: https://news.gallup.com/poll/323582/support-legal-marijuana-inches-new-high.aspx
The ACLU’s report on racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests: https://www.aclu.org/report/tale-two-countries-racially-targeted-arrests-era-marijuana-reform
Marijuana Policy Project’s breakdown of state laws: https://www.mpp.org/states/
FBI’s Crime Data Explorer for arrests by state and year: https://crime-data-explorer.fr.cloud.gov/
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