While New Zealand voted during a referendum on October 17, 2020 with a narrow majority against the legalization of cannabis, the movement to legalize marijuana in the United States took a big leap forward on Election Day as four more states made the drug legal for recreational purposes and two more approved its use for medicinal reasons.
The people in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota voted in favor of legalizing recreationalmarijuana and Mississippi this week became the 36th state to allow medical marijuana, according to the unofficial results. South Dakota became the first state to legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana in the same election, and is now joining states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, Vermont, Alaska and Washington state for the legal recreational use of cannabis.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, has repeatedly stated during his election campaign that he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions. And, he will support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and reschedule cannabis as a schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts, as stated on his official website.
"The public has spoken loudly and clearly," Erik Altieri, Executive Director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said in a statement. "They favor ending the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a policy of legalization, regulation, taxation and public education."
The far-reaching liberalization in now 16 states in the USA will certainly also have an impact on alcohol consumption. Last week a large national cross-sectional survey in Canada became known which clearly showed the correlation between increasing consumption of cannabis and decreasing consumption of alcohol (inside.beer, 28.10.2020).