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Ballot Initiatives for Marijuana: The Next Steps Towards Legalization Over the Course of the 2015/2016 Upcoming Elections

Generally, the best way to legalize a change a state wishes to have passed, would be to form a ballot initiative. The best way to describe a ballot initiative would be a petition, with enough signatures for the issue to be addressed and deliberated upon in local forms of government. One of the largest initiative campaigns around the country right now would be the initiative for the legalization of Marijuana in certain parts of the country. When enough people sign a petition for the legalization of Marijuana, local and state governments have no choice but to hear the argument for its legalization. The most prominent example of a ballot initiative for Cannabis today is occurring as a statewide political movement in California(1).

In addition to California, several other states have ballot initiatives coming up in 2015 and 2016. Since 2015 is beginning to close, the majority of the initiative shall occur in 2016. This, however; does not make the ballot initiatives any less significant than the ones in 2015. To close out the year, the main initiatives are Colorado, Ohio, and Washington As for 2016, there are large initiatives all over the place. Some of the states with the most important ballot initiatives include: Wyoming, South Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Arizona. This is showing signs of great change throughout the nation, also allowing political activists to predict the legalization of Marijuana coming within the next Presidential term(2).

Overall, an initiative is simply a way for society to band together, and create a political change through the use of a petition. One of the most common topics for society to initiate over would be the legalization of Marijuana. This holds especially true for the state of California. After narrowly missing two legalization opportunities before, the people of California are ready to try again for a third time. There is a direct correlation between society’s approval of Marijuana, and the likelihood that the initiative will pass. This time, it would be very unlikely for the initiative to not pass. As time passes, more and more states are putting up initiatives. Some states have had initiatives shot down before. Other states are trying for the first time to get passage of Marijuana-legalization legislation. The only lingering question is: will the initiatives pass?

(1) "Proposed California Marijuana Initiative Allows Cannabis Cafés." Reason.com. October 6, 2015. Accessed October 14, 2015. https://reason.com/blog/2015/10/06/proposed-california-marijuana-initiative.

(2) "Marijuana on the Ballot - Ballotpedia." Marijuana on the Ballot - Ballotpedia. 2015. Accessed October 22, 2015. http://ballotpedia.org/Marijuana_on_the_ballot#tab=By_year.

-Jammin Joe

10/18/15