Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but over the years, it has grown in popularity. According to a poll by Gallup, one in eight adult Americans say they smoke marijuana. Come November 8, five states will vote to decide whether marijuana can be used legally for recreation.
California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada residents will decide about marijuana use on Election Day. It will also be decided if cannabis can be used for medical reasons in Montana, Florida and North Dakota. Currently, it is legal to use recreational marijuana in four states: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, while states with medical marijuana are:
16. New Hampshire
17. New Jersey
18. New Mexico
19. New York
22. Rhode Island
The approval of the law for recreational marijuana use in four states opened a lot of doors, but if California would also vote yes, it may lead to eventually legalize it federally. California has an economy size of a large industrial country. Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California and a former mayor of San Francisco said, "If we're successful, it's the beginning of the end of the war on marijuana. If California moves, it will put more pressure on Mexico and Latin America writ large to reignite a debate on legalization there."
Humans have used marijuana for at least 2,000 years but for much of the past century, its use has been questioned. Reefer Madness, a propaganda film in 1936 set the tone for suggesting that the use of cannabis lead to murder, suicide and other horrific acts.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has refused, for the second time, to downgrade cannabis from a Schedule I substance alongside heroin, LSD and MDMA (ecstasy) to a less dangerous Schedule II substance on the basis of patient safety and a "high potential for abuse."