Cannabis is already available to more than 230 million Americans for medical use and, according to an April survey by Pew Research, 91 percent of residents believe marijuana should be legal for that purpose. Even in states without a medical program like North Carolina and South Carolina, recent polls have shown support topping 70 percent.
Many elected officials, however, have hesitated to follow suit. And even in a year when cannabis boosters saw big, broad wins on recreational legalization in places like New York and New Jersey, some states that have embraced full prohibition remain firmly planted.
“Every state that does not already have a medical marijuana law had something introduced” this year, said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for pro-legalization group Marijuana Policy Project. “Most of them have died.”
Still, the progress in some Republican-controlled state capitals suggests a shift away from the...
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