The results of the 2016 election tell us being a Republican and a marijuana legalization advocate are no longer mutually exclusive, if the labels ever were to begin with.
Eight US states voted on marijuana legalization ballots in the 2016 Election. Five of them — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota — turned red for Trump. Of those five, four states also legalised cannabis in some form, the Marijuana Business Daily reports.
“In each case, with the exception of Arkansas, the cannabis initiatives received almost as many or more votes than Trump garnered,” the Marijuana Business Daily’s Eli McVey writes.
We don’t know how many people who cast ballots for Trump also voted in favour of legalization. But the data from the Marijuana Business Daily would suggest red states with marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot showed support for both the president-elect and legal weed.
Florida delivered a big win for Trump in the election, giving him 49% of the vote. By comparison, a bill legalizing medical marijuana in the Sunshine State received 71% of the vote.
“In Montana, approximately 4% more votes were cast in support of marijuana legalization than for Trump, while the count was essentially even in North Dakota,” McVey writes.
Arizona became the only state of the eight that voted on marijuana legalization to fail the ballot measure at the polls. Still, the number of votes in support of fully legalised weed was within 2% of the number of votes cast for Trump, the Marijuana Business Daily reports.
This may come as a surprise. Most Republicans oppose legalization, while Democrats show overwhelming support for it, according to the latest poll data from the Pew Research Center.
However, support for marijuana legalization reached an all-time high in 2016. Sixty per cent of Americans surveyed by the Gallup Poll last year said they favour outright legalization, up from 35% in 2005. A similar poll conducted by the Pew Research Center came to similar results: 57% of participating US adults expressed support for marijuana legalization.
Meanwhile, Trump will begin his presidency on January 20 with the lowest approval rating of any incoming president in nearly 25 years.
As Trump closes in on the White House, marijuana legalization advocates are watching closely to see how the drug will fare under the president-elect. In short, we don’t really know.
The billionaire real estate mogul has flip-flopped on the issue throughout his public life. Trump has said he supports states’ rights to choose how to legislate medical marijuana, though his administration has yet to call for legalization or discuss a specific policy on the Schedule I drug.
His pick to head the Justice Department, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, is a staunch opponent of legalization. Though he did
admit that arresting and imprisoning cannabis offenders is a “problem of resources” for the federal government, during January confirmation hearings.
The data from the Marijuana Business Daily suggests Trump ought to think twice before his administration makes any attempts to stamp out the $6.7 billion legal marijuana industry.