Cannabis and the 2020 Election: Americans’ Changing Views on Legalization

Law & Policy InsightsCivic Engagement and VotingMarijuana Legalization

December 3, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Even though cannabis is still illegal under federal law; most Americans (91 percent) favor the legalization of cannabis either for medical or recreational use. This is a serious change in public opinion. In 2010, 52 percent of Americans opposed the legalization of cannabis. This more accepting view of cannabis appeared in the 2020 election, with five states legalizing cannabis through ballot measures. With the legalization trend, it is important to understand the legal process behind the ballot measures that have been central to changing state cannabis laws.

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