Marijuana legalization successes pave way for national conversation on drug laws: Experts

Nastasic/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A majority of voters in five states, both red and blue, passed ballot measures that legalized marijuana on Election Day.

This show of support at the polls will put more pressure on other states and the federal government to update its drug policies, according to advocates and experts.

“This indicates that people are frustrated with the outdated drug policies from the 1970s,” Mason Marks, a law professor at Gonzaga University and a fellow in residence at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, told ABC News.

In some cases, like New York, elected officials are publicly sounding the call for major policy changes.

In ballot measures passed in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, residents over 21 will be able to purchase and consume marijuana for recreational purposes. South Dakotan voters also passed a separate measure that legalized medicinal marijuana in the state. Mississippi will also allow adults…

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