Article by Alex Halperin, Los Angeles Times
Marijuana could be legal for medical or recreational use in 29 U.S. states after the November election.
The issue will be put to voters in nine states, with legalization backers enjoying well-funded campaigns and polls showing a high likelihood that they will prevail in the most populous states.
Currently, marijuana is allowed for medical use in 26 states. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota could join their ranks. Montana voters are deciding whether to loosen its current regulations on medical marijuana.
In addition, California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine — all of which already allow medical use — could join Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska as states that also permit recreational use. Those nine states account for nearly a quarter of the U.S. population.
The trend of states loosening restrictions is likely to put more pressure on the federal government to lift its ban on the drug. Americans overwhelmingly support medical marijuana use. The proportion backing full legalization has climbed from 12% in 1969 to 25% in 1995 to 60% today, according to Gallup polls.