Few things went as expected during the 2016 election. Donald Trump, against all the odds, was elected President. The Republican Party claimed (or held onto) control of both houses of Congress. It was a historic and unprecedented night. But there were some things that did fall into place as anticipated. Mostly, state ballot measures set on marijuana legalization.
As the dust settled on the 2016 election, eight states had legalized marijuana — four of them for recreational use, and four for medical use. The entire West Coast now has legal pot, and legalization has begun to spread east.
There is cause for concern, though. Nobody knew how the Trump administration would handle marijuana going forward. He could pull the plug on the whole thing if he wanted to. Advocates had faith he will allow the states to continue to sort it out, however.
“President-Elect Trump has clearly and repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and we fully expect him to follow through on those promises, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because these reforms are broadly supported by a growing majority of voters,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, told The Cheat Sheet. “Reversing course and going against the tide of history would present huge political problems that the new administration does not need.”
“Polls continually show that most Americans support ending marijuana prohibition altogether, and with the new states that just enacted legalization, there’s more pressure than ever to finally change outdated federal laws,” he said. “It’s time for more politicians to start respecting the will of the voters by treating marijuana policy as the important and mainstream issue it is.”
Recent comments from the administration are indicating that Trump has plans to crack down. The White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, recently said that we can expect “greater enforcement” of pot going forward, and the administration has brought on cabinet officials with clear anti-marijuana positions, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Republicans are positioning for a fight, which may see the feds attempt to go after legal states.
Here are the eight states that legalized marijuana during the 2016 election. The question now is whether they’ll get to keep it.