VOTE 20

Big Night For Drugs: Multiple States Legalize Weed, Oregon Legalizes Mushrooms

New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational weed on Tuesday.

Pre-rolled joints are displayed during a 420 Day celebration on April 20, 2018 in San Francisco, California. In the first year that marijuana is legal for recreational use in California, thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered in Golden Gate Park to celebrate 420 day. | Getty Images
Pre-rolled joints are displayed during a 420 Day celebration on April 20, 2018 in San Francisco, California. In the first year that marijuana is legal for recreational use in California, thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered in Golden Gate Park to celebrate 420 day. | Getty Images

Multiple states have moved to legalize recreational cannabis, while Oregon has become the first state to decriminalize all drugs and legalize controlled use of “magic” mushrooms. 

Voters in New Jersey and Arizona on Tuesday approved constitutional amendments that would legalize cannabis for people over the age of 21. The next steps for those states include establishing rules for regulation and permits for vendors. Both states already allowed cannabis for medical use. 

In New Jersey, the cannabis market could generate around $126 million a year for the state's economy, according to a state analysis. 

Additionally, the amendment could lower the disproportionate rate of cannabis-related arrests in communities of color. According to the state’s ACLU, Black New Jersey residents are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white residents, despite similar rates of use.

“Unjust racial disparities have for decades defined enforcement of marijuana laws, and we must make sure that we now do everything in our power to ensure that racial justice defines legalization,” ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha said in a statement. 

Montana and South Dakota also voted to legalize the use of recreational weed. Mississippi voted to allow individuals with qualifying conditions access to medical cannabis. 

The new legislation brings the total number of states to legalize recreational cannabis use to 16. 

In Oregon, voters moved to pass legislation that would decriminalize small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine — becoming the first state to do so. Under Measure 110, people cannot be arrested or jailed for petty possession. Instead, they’ll be fined or be referred to treatment options for addiction. The treatment centers will be funded by the revenue generated by the state’s legal cannabis industry, according to the measure

The state also voted to legalize “magic mushrooms,” or psilocybin, for controlled, supervised use. The measure would allow mushrooms to be used for therapeutic purposes, including treating people who live with disorders such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. 

In Washington D.C., voters approved legislation to decriminalize mushrooms and other organic psychedelic drugs. The measure would categorize the drugs as “the lowest level police enforcement priority.”