Marijuana on the ballot, 9 states to vote on cannabis in November
There will be more than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the ballot this November, voters heading to the polls in nine states will also be deciding on Marijuana.
Collectively, these marijuana measures mean more voters will be weighing in on cannabis issues than any other year in American history.
Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn and his family opened Takoma Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in the District of Columbia three years ago.
“There are now 4,000 registered patients in the program, we serve 1,000 of them, we see about 100 people a day," Kahn said.
Kahn's perspective on pot is a personal one after watching his father-in-law battle Multiple Sclerosis for a decade.
"Along the way a doctor said try marijuana," Kahn explained. "He did and it made a huge difference. So, we just knew as a family that this really helps."
This November, Kahn says he hopes to see more states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.
It's just unbelievable that in the 21st century, you can be penalized for living in the wrong zip code," Kahn said. "If you're an American living in a place where cannabis is not legal at the moment, you're a criminal and you don't have safe and legal access. There's just no excuse for that anymore."
Voters in five states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maine will be deciding whether to legalize Marijuana for recreational use. Voters in Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida will be considering legalizing medical Cannabis.
If the measures pass, they would join the 29 states and the District of Columbia that already have laws on the books, ,allowing some form of legal pot.
“At the end of the day, these initiatives pass because of who produces a better campaign. Who works harder, who has a better more effective message," said John Hudak with the Brookings Institute.
Hudak says a handful of states have a real shot at legalizing recreational marijuana.
“States like Nevada, Massachusetts, California, these are states that have the right demographics to pass an initiative like this," Hudak said.
Jeffrey Zinmeister with Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a group in opposition to recreational legalization efforts, says polling in states like Arizona and Massachusetts do not look good.
“A majority of voters saying they would vote no," Zinmeister said. "Significant margins, this close to election day really shows that those states are going to have an uphill battle.”
Polling in Florida, Montana and Arkansas show over 60 percent of voters support medical marijuana. North Dakota is the only state where passage is looking questionable, with polls showing a narrow 47 percent in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.