U.S. Election: From Guns to Pot, Americans Will Vote on More Than Just Politicians Today

Article by Zane Schwartz, National Post

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The United States is poised for sweeping change on Nov. 8 — and it has nothing to with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. In the voting booth Americans will hold mini-referendums on raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, instituting a carbon tax, banning the death penalty and establishing Canadian-style universal health care. Indeed, there are 162 ballot measures — state-by-state referendum questions that voters decide directly, regardless of who wins the presidency or any other office. Some of them are on issues like gun control, where gridlock at the federal level has stymied new legislation for years. There are proposed restrictions on guns in Washington, Maine, California and Nevada. Colorado is voting on a single-payer health-care system and Washington is considering a carbon-tax. Here are some other key measures being decided on Nov. 8:

Legalizing marijuana

In 2015 Ohio rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana by a significant margin — 64 to 36 per cent. Legalization proponents are trying again in five states: California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Maine and Nevada. There are also initiatives to legalize medical marijuana, often a first step towards recreational marijuana legalization, in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota. The nine marijuana ballot initiatives — (not to mention Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, where marijuana is already legal)—provide examples for Justin Trudeau’s government to consider as they prepare a bill legalizing marijuana for spring 2017.

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