ACROSS AMERICA — The movement to legalize marijuana in the United States took a big leap forward on Election Day as four more states made the drug legal for recreational purposes and two more approved its use for medicinal reasons.
Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota after the majority of voters favored it in all states where it was on the ballot, according to the unofficial results in Tuesday’s general election.
It is already legal in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, Vermont, Alaska and Washington state.
South Dakota became the first state to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana in the same election, and Mississippi this week became the 36th state to allow medical marijuana, according to the unofficial results.
As the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws organization put it: Marijuana went “undefeated” on Election Day.
The seemingly widespread support for legal marijuana in the United States now is a sharp turn from where the country stood on the issue a decade ago.
Ten years later, and voters in conservative South Dakota are in favor of it. 52.4 percent of voters this week decided to legalize it in The Mount Rushmore State.
Chase Terwilliger, CEO of the Denver-based Balanced Health Botanicals CBD company, has noticed the “acceptance” that has come to the cannabis industry in recent years.
“People who have been against the plant, and stigmatized the plant, are now able to see it as not as bad as they once thought it was,” Terwilliger told Patch. “As it has gone more mainstream, the consumers are better off because of the ability to perform more clinical and safety studies.”
Some states that have legalized marijuana have focused more on its financial