Marijuana legislation has resounding victory in 2016 election
Texans didn’t vote on marijuana, but many supportive candidates won, and measures across the country were passed with great success.
While Donald Trump winning the nomination came as a surprise to many, the popularity of various marijuana related measures was not shocking at all to many people involved in advocating for the plant’s legalization.
Recreational marijuana consumption is now legal in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. Medical cannabis legislation also passed in Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and Arkansas.
A city ordinance in Denver also passed which allows the consumption of marijuana in bars and restaurants. Establishments must apply for a permit to allow consumption, however it does not allow the smoking of cannabis, though outside patio smoking may be permitted in the future.
Only Arizona experienced a defeat, despite the state’s marijuana ballot measure receiving a higher percentage of the vote than either Trump or Hillary Clinton.
That leaves only six states without some form of marijuana legalization, whether it be recreational or medical.
In Texas, one of the most prominent political fights concerning marijuana policy played out in east Texas, where incumbent District Attorney Devon Anderson (R) lost to Kim Ogg (D) in Houston and the surrounding areas. The two went for a rematch after their hard fought election in 2014 where both worked to present a strong plan to divert people away from jail and criminal records for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
On the other side of the state, Rep. Joe Moody (D) of El Paso comfortably maintained his seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Moody has stated that introducing a marijuana penalty reduction bill is a priority for him during the 2017 legislative session. He introduced a similar measure in 2015 which was ultimately passed out of committee, but was not heard by the full House.
Federally, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), also from El Paso, trounced his opponents on his way to re-election. O’Rourke has been a strong advocate for marijuana policy reform at the federal level and has even attracted the support of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ political action committee.
A number of other state legislators who have shown various amounts of support for reforming marijuana laws in Texas won re-election as well.