In states such as Oklahoma, illegal marijuana possession is at an all-time high (no pun intended). With the latest success of pot legalization in states like Colorado, progressives are more bothered than ever with the distinct political gridlock in Washington and are planning a major ballot initiative to push across the country. They are banking on a very favorable electorate in 2016, with a large number of parties now assisting issues like background checks for firearms, improving the minimum wage, and supporting marijuana legalization.
Organizations are now far more confident after the huge success on progressive ballot initiatives presented to the conservative bloc of voters in 2014. In 2016, the more youthful, more liberal voters are anticipated to turn out in droves, and create more major victories. Referendums like gun control, economic fairness issues (including paid sick leave and equal pay), and marijuana legalization are predicted to outnumber those of 2012. This is a straightforward sign that liberals are accepting a state-based model that allows them to circumvent the legislature and Congress.
Conservatives, on the other hand, are not taking this lightly and are pledging to put an end to the momentum with a set of competing ballot propositions. However, pot legalization advocate’s approach, in particular, is expected to do quite effectively, presented the jarring demographic variances between midterm and presidential years.
“Especially with gridlock in Washington and fewer states likely to address the minimum wage legislatively, we’re likely to see more ballot initiatives on the minimum wage and other progressive economic issues,” announced Paul Sonn, general counsel at the National Employment Law Project, an organization that has assisted minimum wage pushes across the U.S. Sonn’s statement reflects on the midterm election, in which the GOP took back the Senate and made major gains in the House. It was the smallest voter turnout since 1942, with much younger and minority voters making up a much smaller sized percentage of the voting pool.
Things are appearing much more ideal now for progressives, as minimum-wage-hike success sweep across four hardened red states on November 4th– including, Arkansas, Alaska, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Sonn, however, feels confident that the rise in economic ballot propositions will boost turnout more than in the last election cycle. Although Sonn cannot certify which new initiatives will be on the ballot, he did say that states like Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Missouri, and Washington are places where gridlock makes ballot initiatives an appealing alternative.
According to experts, paid sick leave and equal pay propositions are also likely to be on the ballot in 2016. The senior vice president of the Center for American Progress, Arkadi Gerney, announced the current trend in economic initiatives is largely in response to the failings of Congress and state legislatures. They simply have not dealt with the decades-long wage stagnation.
More than a few marijuana legalization organizations are also gearing up for the 2016 election in Arizona, Maine, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts. Heads of these groups also say they have a good shot at being on the ballot in Montana and Missouri, as well. They are hopeful due in part to the legalization of marijuana possession in Oregon and Alaska in 2014, and the legalization of the plant’s use and transfer in Washington, D.C. A constitutional amendment requiring a 60 % approval did fail in Florida, which would have allowed the use of medical marijuana, but it still pulled in a massive 58 percent of the vote.
The communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert, said the group’s forceful push is also because of the gridlock in state legislature, saying, “In the legislature, you can have a majority of elected officials in support, but it might be held up for five years due to one or two legislators, or a governor threatening a veto.”.
It’s true that the nation appears to be to be more pro-pot as the years keep going, but these updated campaigns will not be won without a fight. 2012 brought success in states like Colorado and Washington (the first two states to legalize small marijuana possession), but there likewise were some substantial deficits. These include the embarrassing defeat for recreational marijuana legalization in the bluest parts of Oregon.
Anti-marijuana groups are said to be on the counteroffensive. “We are ramping up our efforts,” expressed Kevin Sabet, who co-founded the anti-legalization Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) with former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.). “It’s clear that we have a lot of work to do. I’m not looking at this with rose-colored glasses,” Sabet appended.
Still, he argued that a spending advantage was a fundamental cause for legalization successes. Anti-legalization advocates have badly outspent in both Oregon and Alaska this past cycle.
Sabet would not rule out some anti-legalization ballot initiatives, either, including those that may possibly tie state marijuana policy to federal policy, where halting prohibition would be far more challenging. “All options are on the table,” he claimed.Categories: