What's most interesting about the green marijuana wave that swept the nation again on Election Day was several of the states that voted to legalize recreational or medical cannabis were red states like Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota.
Probably most shocking was South Dakota where separate recreational and medical meaures both passed. Until now South Dakota was strictly a criminalized state with no medical marijuana statute whatsoever, much less recreational.
In a Zoom call with the media on November 4, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer said:
"These are very powerful results in states with Republican Senators and Representatives. It's good politics. This is what the public wants. This streak of support will continue in red states as well as blue states. I was encouraged by the size of the votes."
Recreational legalization passed with 67% in New Jersey, 60% in Arizona, 57% in Montana and 54% in South Dakota, Medical marijuana passed with 74% in Mississippi and 69% in South Dakota.
About the MORE Act, which would deschedule cannabis and effectively end prohibition, but was tabled by the House in September, Blumenauer was critical of "timid" House members who slowed down its progress. "We will get more sponsors," he predicted. "We're not done yet. We'll fine tune this going forward. Legalization is the step. Half measures are unnecessary."
With Kamala Harris, who sponsored the Senate version of the MORE Act, by Joe Biden's side, Blumenauer expects federal progress on marijuana, even with the Republican Senate in the way. (Note: Blumenauer expects Biden to defeat Donald Trump.)
The Portland-based Congressman concluded:
"Politicians are slow learners, but are capable of being educated. Politicians pay attention to their voters. Public support [for marijuana] continues to grow. These are strong indications that the Republicans ought to embrace this issue."
Blumenauer is a member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus along with Barbara Lee, Mike Joyce and Don Young.