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The unexpected winner on election night? Drugs

A marijuana cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A marijuana cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) (2017 Getty Images)

While we may not know if President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden won the presidential election for a while longer, there was one clear “winner” on election night, and that was recreational drugs.

States across the country have been legalizing recreational marijuana every election cycle, and 2020 was no different. Residents in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota all voted to legalize recreational cannabis, and South Dakota also legalized medical marijuana, along with Mississippi.

South Dakota became the first state to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in the same election.

There are 33 states (as of Nov. 3, 2020) that currently allow medical marijuana and 11 states (plus Washington D.C.) that allow recreation marijuana, so it’s not a shock to see the states mentioned above approve the ballot initiatives.

But it wasn’t just marijuana that had a good day at the polls in parts of the country. For the first time in U.S. history, the state of Oregon decriminalized possession of hard drugs, as well as voted to legalize psychedelic mushrooms.

“Hard drugs” implies narcotics including cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamine. The measure was backed by criminal justice reform groups. It doesn’t mean residents can go to a dispensary and purchase meth or cocaine, it just means they won’t arrested for possessing small amounts of these drugs for personal use.

Activists say this is a step in the right direction to help drug-related crimes be reformed, and it also puts pressure on nearby states, such as New York with New Jersey, to legalize recreational marijuana so they can keep up in the booming industry.

Washington D.C. voted to decriminalize psychedelics such as mushrooms, too.


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