Don’t look now, but the November elections are just over five weeks away. In addition to choosing the 45th president of the United States, voters in nine states will decide the fate of marijuana, which has become a front-and-center issue this year.
The expansion of the marijuana industry is impressive in two respects. First, its growth rate is practically unmatched. According to cannabis research firm ArcView, legal marijuana sales could grow at a 30% annual clip between now and 2020, all on account of organic sales growth and legalization by more individual states.Secondly, public opinion concerning cannabis has shifted dramatically. Two decades ago, when California became the first state to allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for a small list of ailments, a national Gallup poll pegged support for the drug at a mere 25%. In Gallup’s latest poll, support for the nationwide legalization of marijuana tied for an all-time high at 58%. A CBS News poll found even stronger support for medical marijuana, with 84% of respondents in favor of its legalization.By the end of the 2016 elections we could see five new states joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska by legalizing recreational marijuana, and four more states could join the 25 that have legalized medical cannabis.These states are the most likely to be seeing green in NovemberHowever, as we saw last week, not all of those nine states are locks for approval. In fact, a couple could wind up rejecting the legalization of marijuana. At the other end of the spectrum are a handful of states that look certain to vote “yes” on marijuana.Though nothing is set in stone, recent polling suggests the following states are most likely to legalize marijuana on Nov. 8.