Marijuana-Legalization Efforts and Their Impact on the Presidential Race
With the race for the White House heating up, the “politics of marijuana” is looming as a possibly significant factor.
Twenty-four state ballot initiatives on marijuana legalization in 16 states have been filed already and will be voted on in November 2016, including in the “swing states” of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and New Mexico.
This is important because marijuana-legalization ballot initiatives are widely acknowledged to “turn out the vote” of single-issue, first-time, and younger voters – all of whom disproportionately vote Democratic. In close races and swing states, they may make the difference. Insiders have reported that these voters have determined the outcome in several contested races and states in the last two election cycles (e.g., in Barack Obama’s defeat of Mitt Romney in Colorado in 2012).
Moreover, the marijuana-legalization issue is increasingly a focus in U.S. Senate and House races and in pro- and anti-marijuana bills. Recently, the House Republican leadership successfully stripped out pro-marijuana-legalization amendments to two pending bills.
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