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Clean Sweep for 2016 Recreational Legalization

Yes, we said it, we are predicting a clean sweep of recreational marijuana legalization in the five states that have it on their ballot this upcoming Tuesday. Recent polls conducted in September and October show several states are more ahead of others, and most surpassing that critical 50% support threshold:

Marijuana Legalization Opinion

California, well within the the error-margin range, is the clear favorite in terms of “Yes” votes (as surveyed by UC Berkeley’s poll from a week ago). On the other hand, Nevada probably has the most uncertainty. We are slightly more confident in the outcome because of several readings from prediction markets, which determine the probability of passage based on bets from the public (of Question 2, in NV’s case). For example, PredictIt indicates an 85% chance that Nevada will pass Question 2, in line with Maine’s prediction of 86% as of this Sunday. Prediction markets are not always right and can certainly be swayed by individuals and organizations pumping money to prop up these statistics (and likely has more younger participants betting than senior citizens, a population overwhelmingly in support of legalization). However, the accuracy of prediction markets has been shown to be a better predictor of the actual outcome than any other means (including surveys of experts or pundits as well as polls), so we stand by what we see from the data there: a clean sweep.

Overall, we are very optimistic about the results we’ll see this week. Medical marijuana has been legal in California for 20 years and polls show a near 60% agreement on passage. Once passed, it is unlikely to be repealed in the future, although implementation can have its own can of worms. The overwhelming direction as seen in the below chart from Gallup data is irrefutable evidence of people’s comfort with mary jane: a short ten years has increased marijuana legalization support by nearly 70% with the biggest wave of support coming from the 18-34 year age group.

Legalization Views by Age

There are a few states in the throes of medicinal marijuana legalization, like our home state of Florida. Some of those initiatives may not pass the vote on Tuesday, such as Arkansas. But there’s good evidence that marijuana’s improved recreational or medicinal status has been good to the economies of states that have legalized it in some form.

With more adoption comes increased comfort in dealing with this drug, and with more comfort people will increasingly recognize how benign, beneficial and beautiful marijuana can be.